The Grain Column with Emma Croft

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

Following a rather volatile week, feed wheat values are back to trading in the region of £140/T ex-farm once again this week.

This month’s key supply and demand estimates from the US Department of Agriculture were released this time last week and although there were some noteworthy changes, the final numbers were generally in line with trade expectations.

Global wheat production was raised to 751 million tonnes as decreases for Australian wheat production (as expected) were offset by major increases to Russian, European and Indian wheat production. ]

As for maize corn, global production was increased to 1038.8 million tonnes due to higher yields in the US, encouraged by a “period of exceptional late season warmth” which has helped to push “developmentally delayed maize corn towards maturity”.

Looking ahead to the Northern Hemisphere Harvest for 2018, “wetter than normal weather” has apparently “boosted soil moisture for winter crop planting and establishment across most of central and Northern Europe” according to the report.

Here in the UK, the improvement in the forecast over the last 10 days or so following prolonged periods of rain has certainly put the majority of local growers in better spirits as autumn drilling gets well underway.

Meanwhile, DEFRA have this week published a provisional UK OSR crop of 2.2 million tonnes this season, a 23% increase on last year’s crop.

They added that at 536,000 hectares, the UK OSR area for harvest 2017 was 2.8% lower than the year previous and the smallest area sown since 2004.

However, yields this harvest are estimated at an average of 3.9 tonnes per hectare (1.57 tonnes per acre).

This is a 26% increase from 2016 and matches the record level seen in 2015.

Locally, I would say that 1.57 tonnes per acre is very representative of this area.

Most growers have achieved somewhere in the region of at least 1.5 tonnes per acre with the odd crop even pushing towards the two tonnes per acre mark.

I therefore wouldn’t be overly surprised if this provisional figure was revised higher than this.

As a result of the above, AHDB have added that “we should expect the UK to regain its net-exporter status this season after being a net-importer of OSR last season due to a small crop of 1.78 million tonnes”.

Currency will therefore play a big part this season in the direction of ex-farm values.