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 values are, once again, unchanged this week with spot collection offered at £142/T ex-farm.

Further forward, buyer interest is limited into the summer months.

As for new crop wheat, £140/T ex-farm is offered for September collection.

For those of you looking to move feed wheat straight off the combine, please get in touch with the office to discuss your movement requirements.

With Argentina due to begin harvesting soybeans in April and maize corn due any day now, all eyes are on Argentine weather at the moment. According to AHDB, Argentina is a key producer of maize and soybeans – the USDA has forecast Argentina to account for 18% of all global maize exports and 6% of global soybean exports in 2017/18.

The latest weather reports are heavily drought focused – soil moisture levels are low and rain levels throughout the month of January were at a five year low for some regions.

“Currently, the Argentine maize is going through the ‘silking’ and fill stage where moisture levels can have a large influence upon the harvest yield.

It is latest crop development report, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, stated that 36.4% of the maize corn crop was in this ‘silking’ stage as of the 31st January”, hence the increased market attention on this matter. Overall maize production this season has already been downgraded from initial estimates by two million tonnes – any further downgrades could have an impact on local values.

As for soybeans, many crops are currently undergoing the critical flowering stage, during which moisture stress can also have an impact on yield. Both will be worth keeping a close eye on in the coming weeks.

Also, it is interesting to note that the situation in Argentina is having an influence on planting intentions over in the US. As it costs roughly twice as much to grow soybeans rather than maize in the US, when soybean prices are more than double those for maize, there is a greater incentive to plant soybeans. Again, this will be worth monitoring over the coming weeks as a smaller US soybean crop could have a ‘knock-on’ effect within the European oilseed market.

Elsewhere Russian wheat exports for the season so far (as of 31 December) are forecast at 21.3 million tonnes – a staggering 60% increase year on year.

With the milder, favourable weather expected to continue, Russian values could remain the benchmark for other origins.

In other words, the price of UK wheat can only rally as far as the equivalent imported Russian wheat value.

As a wheat importer, why buy UK wheat when Russian is far more competitively priced?