Week Beginning Monday 2nd April

  • The London LIFFE wheat future for May 2018 is lower this morning from Friday’s position at £142.25/T. This is £1.85/T lower than the opening trade a week previous.
  • The London LIFFE wheat future for November 2018 is lower from Friday’s position at £143.25/T. This is just £1.35/T lower than last week’s opening trade.
  • The London LIFFE wheat future for November 2019 is also lower this morning at £145.40/T. This is £0.10/T lower than the week previous.

Old crop feed wheat continues to trade in the region of £150.00/T ex-farm this morning. Old crop feed barley values are still on the rise with £145.00/T ex-farm offered for immediate collection. A premium on this is offered for collection into the early summer – please speak with the office to discuss your requirements.


In retaliation to the 25% steel and 10% aluminium tariffs imposed by the administration of President Trump last month, China have this week announced tariffs of 25% on American pork and eight other goods, as well as 15% tariffs on fruit and 120 types of commodities. The Chicago grain futures have since traded lower.


UK wheat values are generally firm, underpinned by the ongoing wet weather issues which are frustratingly delaying spring fieldwork. Locally, the apparent re-opening of Vivergo has encouraged the return of the “Yorkshire premium”; local ex-farm feed wheat values are slightly higher to anywhere else in the country due to high demand.

However, ships from the South are currently heading into the Humber, capping price potential. In other words, Yorkshire feed wheat will only rally as far as a Southern equivalent plus the haulage / shipping costs. The same rule applies for imports from the continent and beyond; UK feed wheat generally will only rally as far as a French / Russian equivalent ex the UK docks.


Over the last few weeks the UK and European market have seen a steep climb in barley prices as supply remains tight. Barley has gained more than £14.00/t over the past eight weeks, compared to an £8.50/t increase on wheat. However, last week’s prices saw a slight fall due to a strong pound, as well as the outlook on the US rains that were much needed on very dry areas.  According to Farmers Weekly a UK based merchant has loaded a 26,500t boat of barley for Algeria (a deal done three months ago) and has said “even if more barley was available now, UK grain was too expensive for the export market”. A strong and tight forward barley market has yet to see much interest and farmers have been very reluctant to sell forward due to the wet weather. Winter barley acreage is down 10% and most of spring barley has yet to be sown.


Global markets were subdued last week ahead of the USDA’s prospective planting report which was released on Thursday evening. However, due to the four day Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, the grain market has had a slow start this morning as it takes time to digest the numbers.

This season, the US is expected to be the world’s largest exporter of maize corn and the second largest exporter of both soybeans and wheat.

The area planted to these crops this spring will be a good indicator of their position within the global market next season.

The results are as follows:

  • This is a 2.141 million acre reduction on the area sown for harvest 2017.
  • 88.026 million acres.
  • This is a 1.16 million acre reduction on the area sown for harvest 2017.
  • 88.982 million acres.
  • ALL WHEAT (SPRING & WINTER SOWN)This is a 1.327 million acre increase on the area sown for harvest 2017.
    • WINTER WHEAT – 32.708 million acres.
    • SPRING WHEAT – 12.627 million acres.
  • 47.339 million acres.

With almost 75% of next season’s US wheat crop autumn sown and currently in the ground, market attention will remain weather focused on not only how the current conditions are impacting spring drilling progress, but also on how the winter wheat crop is developing. According to the latest USDA figures, US winter wheat has got off to an unusually poor start with the first national condition rating of the calendar year for crops in either a “good or excellent” condition coming in at 32%, the lowest first reading in 16 years.

The hard red winter wheat crop is particularly “troubled” having been tested by drought. Ratings in some soft red winter wheat states are also below average.

In Kansas, a key winter wheat producing state, just 10% is rated to be “good or excellent”. This time last year, 43% of the crop was rated in this condition. In Oklahoma, another key winter wheat producing state, just 9% of the crop is rated as “good or excellent”.



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