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 continues to trade in the region of £143/T ex-farm which is quite remarkable given the apparent lack of long term buyer demand.

Selling wheat for delivery within the next fortnight is far easier to negotiate on price than it is to commit forward deliveries into the summer months.

Looking ahead, farmers are suggesting that £150/T ex-farm would be a good benchmark for the earlier summer months but this is just not realistic at the moment.

As for milling wheats, the firming of the feed wheat market has eaten into premiums over the last few days with group 3 and 4 wheats offering no more than a £3/T premium.

Group 1 varieties at full specification continue to trade in the region of £155/T ex-farm.

For those of you looking to discuss spring seed requirements, please contact the office as soon as possible as certain varieties are now completely sold out for both wheat and barley.

According to AHDB, Russia has become an “ever-increasing dominant force in the global grain market over the past five years”. This season, Russia is expected to account of 18% of global wheat exports, 85% more than it averaged over the past 10 years.

A key part of Russia’s growth over the past years has come from winter hardy varieties, favourable weather throughout the colder month and thus strong yields. In a typical year, a good blanket of snow cover helps to protect the Russian crops from the biting cold in key parts of the country; this year however is slightly different.

Mild temperatures and a lack of snow cover have left crops extremely vulnerable across much of central Russia.

Temperatures over the Christmas period were up to 10 degrees higher than the previous year in some areas, encouraging some winter wheat crops into the early stages of stem extension.

Over in the US, concerns for crop winter kill over the festive period have also materialised. Whilst snow cover may offer insulation to some areas, patchy cover over in the Southern Midwest could prove problematic if temperatures continue to fall.

The USDA have added that “these recent weather issues appear to have taken their toll on the condition of winter wheat in Kansas, the largest producer of winter wheat in the US, with temperatures falling to lows of -24 degrees on New Year’s Day”.

Here, winter wheat crops were already said to be in a “vulnerable” state given that the recent cold weather had followed on from a period of extreme dryness.

Though the worst of the freezing weather has likely passed, the damage may already have been done. Combined with the expectation that the US planted wheat area may decline again this year, this could cause issues for available supply.

Further information will be released later on in the week (12th January).