The Grain column with Emma Croft

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

Feed wheat for spot collection has crept towards the £145/T ex-farm mark this week after spending several weeks stuck around the £140/T ex-farm position.

Regardless, farm sellers appear to be firmly focused on tackling the tough soil conditions and getting next year’s crop in the ground at the moment and the grain market is rather quiet.

As for feed barley, ex-farm values are generally unchanged once again this week despite the lift in the wheat market.

For those of you looking to secure £130/T ex-farm, January collection currently looks like a reasonable offer.

According to provisional estimates from DEFRA, UK wheat output this harvest has totalled 15.163 million tonnes.

This is a 5.4% increase on last year’s tonnage despite the overall decline in crop area and is firmly above the five year average of 14.5 million tonnes.

The total has received a mixed reaction from the trade; some are convinced that this figure will be revised higher whereas others believe it is too high already. Personally, in light of the recent news from Scotland, I would say that this figure is sensible with regard to the information currently available; higher than average but still a long way from the 16.4 million tonnes produced back in 2015. Provisional results for Scotland are very surprising given the difficult conditions this season.

A dry spring followed by a wet summer raised significant concerns for spring crops in particular but spring crops were in fact “well established and received moisture at the right time to encourage growth”.

Scottish spring barley production for example is estimated at 1.509 million tonnes, a 16% increase on last year’s total due to a record average yield of 6.2 tonnes per hectare.

Furthermore, winter crops have also performed well with winter wheat production estimated at 988,000 tonnes, a 7% increase on last year.

As for barley production, the provisional figure for the UK has increased by 10.6% from last year’s figure to 7.4 million tonnes this season.

This is firmly above the five year average of 6.7 million tonnes and is the largest crop produced within the last five years (just ahead of the 7.37 million tonnes produced in 2015).

A full set of provisional data to include yield and area data, along with results for the remaining cereal and OSR crops is being released later this week alongside a USDA report which will give us an update on crop production estimates from around the world; more on this in next week’s column.