Market Report wc 27th April

As of Friday evening, the London LIFFE wheat future for November 2020 had gained £5.50/T on the Friday previous. This morning however, the future was valued £2.25/T lower at £165.50/T.  

Over in Russia, the Agricultural Ministry stated last week that grain exports would completely cease once the 7 million tonne quota they set for the last quarter of the season was reached. Currently, 3.5 million tonnes has already been shipped and around 1 million tonnes is being loaded for export week. Estimates are therefore suggesting that this quota will be hit around early May.  

The Ukraine is also running close to meeting its wheat export quota of 20.2 million tonnes having now shipped 18.5 million tonnes. It is also reported to be considering limiting maize corn export’s but we have had no formal confirmation of this.  

This morning, new crop feed wheat continues to trade at £160.00/T ex-farm for August collection. As for old crop, £152.00/T ex-farm looks a reasonable offer for spot collection this morning having peaked at £156.00/T ex-farm last week.  

Although the London LIFFE wheat market was firm, the bulk of the movement can be attributed to “technical trading” as the May 2020 future expired.  

Meanwhile, old crop feed barley values continue to trade at £130.00/T ex-farm, although this is now being offered for June collection as the spot position fills. This seems good value, particularly given that:  

  1. The pandemic has reduced the demand for food service malting barley, adding to feed stocks.  
  2. Post March, animal feed demand diminishes, particularly this year with the excellent spring weather.  
  3. The ability to export is currently limited due to logistical restrictions.  
  4. Another large UK barley crop is expected for harvest 2020.  
  5. Brexit uncertainty regarding potential export agreements for 2021.  
  6. Maize corn prices are extremely competitive due to a collapse of the bio-ethanol market. US maize corn prices dropped to a 14 year low last week.  

Although the bulk of the local feed barley crop this harvest will be spring barley, and this may give long holders some opportunity as the bulk of the crop won’t be readily available until a month later than normal, £130.00/T ex-farm for June collection currently looks like a very reasonable offer given the above.  

As usual, and despite the global pandemic, the weather is beginning to influence market direction as we enter the spring months:  


We have already seen restrictions on old crop grain exports from here and this bullish sentiment is being supported by ongoing concerns of dry weather. In the key region for wheat production, the South of Russia, rainfall for both March and April are very much below normal, with recent rains offering very little relief. Similar is true for the Ukraine.  

Over the next fortnight, rainfall is expected to hit the Black Sea but this is unlikely to alleviate the bullish sentiment. Russia’s Institute for Agriculture (IKAR) have this week reduced its 2020 production estimate by 2.3 million tonnes to 77.2 million tonnes (still a large crop).  

  • EUROPE  

Although demand is being capped by coronavirus, dryness is a growing concern – which is surreal given the winter we had. Rainfall over the next fortnight throughout the continent is limited which is a concern given that European production figures are already down on last year. Germany is said to be particularly dry having received only 80% of the normal rainfall over the past couple of months. French crop condition scores have declined once again this week with the proportion of wheat rated “good to very good” falling by a further 3%. Here in the UK, a good amount of rainfall is forecast for most areas over the coming week alongside cooler temperatures.  


Maize corn drilling is currently underway in Brazil and conditions are less than ideal. Soil moisture remains below average and recent rains have done little to alleviate concerns. Although this is not firming local markets, it is easing the pressure from an overwhelming lack of demand for maize corn in the ethanol sectors.  

  • USA 

As we move through April and into May, the pace of planting is always a key watch point for markets – progress is currently behind the five-year average with cold weather delaying planting.  

For those of you with an oat crop in the ground who would like to cnsider their marketing options for next year – there is a really useful article on the AHDB website this week:

We should be looking at the largest oat crop since 1976 and this article discusses some of the challenges that this potentially huge crop will be up against.  

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