Old Crop Wheat Values Sink to 11 Month Low

At this time last week, the US Department of Agriculture announced that the US intended to plant 97.3M/A of maize corn over the next four weeks, the largest acreage since the early 1930’s. Regardless, our equivalent London wheat market clung on to the idea that whilst their intentions were strong, the weather forecast for the fortnight ahead had other ideas. Recent rains had undeniably benefitted both winter cereals and spring soils ready for planting, but were seriously beginning to  shorten the already limited ‘ planting window’ to physically get the crop in the ground.

A week on and the American maize corn situation looks very different. By last Sunday evening, maize corn plantings were 71% complete – up 43% from the week previous and just slightly behind the 5 year average of 78% at this stage in the season. Furthermore, mild temperatures and light showers are forecast for the week ahead, allowing growers to play catch-up with the remaining acres.

Consequently, London feed wheat values have made a serious decline over this last week.

Old crop wheat has retreated around £10/T, with current values somewhere between £182-184/T ex-farm. Movement further forward should in theory offer a couple of pounds per tonne more, but buyers are thin in a market place that is currently falling so quickly. Milling wheat values have also declined in light of the above (and the arrival of a French soft wheat shipment into New Holland this week hasn’t exactly encouraged values either).

As for new crop values, feed wheat for harvest collection is currently struggling to make £170/T ex-farm, whilst October/November movement is offering somewhere between £172-175/T ex-farm. Trade volumes have however continued to improve as growers gain at least a little confidence for crops in the ground.

Elsewhere, this last week has also seen good spring planting progress for Southern Russia and the Ukraine. As of last Sunday, 96% of the intended spring acreage was in the ground across the Ukraine – including 4.5M/Ha of maize corn. For Russia, around 40% of 12.4M/Ha of the total intended spring acreage has now been drilled – slightly behind on last year’s progress but nothing to worry about just yet.

A little closer to home, prospects for European winter crops have also improved over the last fortnight. Milder temperatures, plentiful rainfall and warmer winds have all benefited crops in Northern Germany, France and here in the UK.

According to the HGCA, ‘bald patches aside’, UK winter cereals are now said to be ‘delayed’ rather than in ‘poor condition’. Spring plantings have also benefitted from the recent rains, particularly across the North, although some ‘warmer weather wouldn’t exactly go a miss’… and don’t we know it.


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