The grain column with Emma Croft

Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Ltd.
Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Ltd.

For those of you with any old crop left In the shed for movement this week, £146/T - £147/T ex-farm is currently being offered. As for new crop feed wheat, £143/T ex-farm looks like a realistic offer for as available collection straight off the combine this morning.

Many growers appear “rather frustrated” (to put it politely) with the market and should have perhaps taken advantage of the benchmark £150.00/T ex-farm, particularly for movement in the short term. Any movement back towards this sort of level should therefore be worth some consideration.

Several new crop feed barley samples landed into the office last week and although results are mixed, most growers are generally pleased.

Yields are nicely around the 3 tonne per acre mark for two row varieties and most malting varieties are achieving a very similar level. Bushel weights are nothing spectacular but the majority are firmly above the required 63.5kg/hl.

It would seem that every combine in Yorkshire is out in force this afternoon – we should have a better idea of both yields and quality by this time next week. New crop feed barley for as available movement is valued at £115/T ex-farm.

We have only seen a handful of OSR samples so far this harvest and I therefore wouldn’t like to comment at this stage – all have however been pleased with results but I’m not sure if this is because yields are genuinely good or if they are simply relieved to have topped the 1 tonne to the acre mark following last year’s disappointing (disastrous) crop.

The latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) were released last week, revealing a higher than expected production forecast for US wheat. This came as a shock to the wheat market given the “rally inducing” weather concerns seen over the past couple of weeks.

According to a report released this week by AHDB, British Farmers sowed 1.76 million hectares of wheat to be harvested this year, a drop of 55,000 hectares year on year.

A common strategy amongst farmers for controlling black grass has been to leave more fields fallow through the winter months, allowing time for black grass to be treated with broad herbicides for spring sowing. As a result, we have seen a 9% jump in spring barley sowings.

With carryover stocks down from the previous trading season and plantings of wheat depressed, we will need to see larger yields than the 2016 harvest in order for UK supplies to increase.

It is also interesting to note that just 48% of the all wheat area for this season (both spring and winter varieties) is just 48%, the lowest seen for eight years. By contrast, 40% of the all wheat area sown for this season is group 1 and 2 milling varieties, the highest proportion seen on records going back to 2006.

If we see a high quality harvest again this year, premiums could certainly fall under pressure.

However, with drought concerns over in the US and Canada, could a high quality harvest put the UK in a unique position this season? Watch this space.