The Grain Column with Emma Croft

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

The UK feed wheat market is unchanged on Tuesday as current values continue to trade in the region of £135/T ex-farm.

Following an unusually dry and warm Bank Holiday weekend, good harvest progress has finally been made following a rather frustrating fortnight.

All of the winter barley crops are now safely in the shed, as are the OSR crops.

As for winter wheat, a good effort has been made to ensure maximum quality and the majority of milling varieties have now been cut.

It is difficult to say how much feed wheat remains in the field but most appear to be looking for a dry week to get the last of the crop finished off. Both yields and quality remain mixed.

As for spring barley, a good effort has again been made to ensure malting quality and a decent amount of the crop has now been harvested.

Yields are mixed but quality has been very good with the majority of samples passing the malting test with flying colours.

Nationally, around 68% of the total GB crop area had been harvested by this time last week; I am sure this figure will now be much higher given the recent dry spell.

Regardless, this figure remains slightly ahead of the five year average of 59%.

Further afield, the French agricultural board has confirmed expectations of a good quality crop following a relatively smooth going harvest period.

According to AHDB, as of the 21 August, 96% of the soft wheat samples seen so far had a protein content higher than 11.5%, the highest in recent years. Both specific weights and Hagberg numbers have also been excellent and are significantly improved on last year’s harvest.

AHDB has added that the above combined with an overall recovery in domestic production puts the country in “an improved position to recapture its export market share following limited opportunities last season”.

However, competition from Black Sea supplies is likely to be an important feature this season and prices may succumb to pressure in order to compete.

This also applies to the UK crop; prices may be pressured to appear competitive.

It is also important to note than the recent rainfall across much of Eastern Europe has eased heatwave concerns this week and hope has been restored for the majority of the European maize corn crop.

Higher yields have now been forecast for the EU’s biggest producer France, and also for Romania and Hungary. Although Europe isn’t necessarily a key maize corn producer, due to the ability to partially substitute between grains, the size of the EU maize crop will have implications for wheat demand throughout the EU.

A larger EU maize crop could potentially weigh on feed grain prices.