The Grain Column with Emma Croft

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

Following a slightly milder and drier weekend, the last of this year’s cereal samples have landed on our desks this morning with mixed results.

Most look weathered and dull yet bushel weights are just about meeting the required feed specification for both wheat and barley (which given that it is exactly 15 weeks since we saw the very first Harvest 2017 sample, overall quality of those last few bits and pieces are reasonable).

Other than the odd patch on wet ground, I would estimate that the majority of this season’s cereals are now safely in the shed, leaving just the spring and winter beans to sample.

Most of the winter samples seen so far are feed grade – although there is minimal Bruchid damage, samples are heavily stained and inconsistent (large beans alongside very small, dark beans).

As for spring samples, the majority seen so far have made the grade for human consumption at a premium. Movement is currently very good and drying options are available for those of you who require them, please speak to the office to discuss your requirements.

Following a quiet week, feed wheat continues to trade in the region of £140/T ex-farm for spot collection.

Yet another “technical issue”/breakdown at Salt End is causing movement problems already this week so we are shuffling ex-farm movements around the best we can. Further forward, £145/T ex-farm is offered for collection into the New Year.

As for feed barley, £125/T ex-farm is offered for spot collection – for those of you looking to secure £130/T ex-farm, early spring movement could be negotiated.

According to AHDB, if at least average yields are achieved for both spring and winter barley this season (which they could well be), UK barley output could be on course for a 7% increase on last year. It is therefore a good job that UK barley exports for July, the first month of the current trading season, totalled 113,000 tonnes – this is the second highest total for the month in the past 14 years.

Spain dominated the destination of UK barley exports, with 60,000 tonnes of the July total shipped there due to a poor Spanish barley harvest.

There is still a long way to go in the current export campaign, but the figures from July certainly indicate a strong start to the year.

Of course there are a number of factors which will influence the UK’s ability to export across the season, not least currency and also the availability of the domestic crop.

AHDB have added that “further clarification on the size of the UK crop will be released though DEFRA’s first provisional estimate of wheat and barley production on Thursday 5 October”.