Barley being tipped into a grain store© Tim Scrivener

Both breadmaking and feed wheat prices firmed by about £3/t in the week to Friday (28 October).

This put their spot ex-farm averages at £141/t and just over £131/t, respectively.

A rising market on the back of good export demand and concerns over tighter than anticipated stocks has increased growers’ reluctance to sell, in turn pushing prices up.

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However, merchants warn further rises risk pricing the UK out of the export market.

UK feed wheat futures for the nearest month’s contract hit the highest level since 2014, with November closing at £139.50/t on Thursday (27 October).

Uncertainty

Elsewhere wheat quality concerns injected more uncertainty.

These included snow in Canada, reports of low protein content in Australia and the impact of torrential rains in Brazil.

In dry conditions, French wheat planting at about 43% complete is well behind last year’s 52%.

Supporting wheat, European maize prices have also risen on a disappointing French crop, which is estimated at 12m tonnes by analyst Agritel, against a final figure of 13.5m tonnes last year.

Feed barley also gained, up by about £1.50 to average just over £111/t ex-farm.

However European barley exports are way behind compared to last season, with less than 1.3m tonnes exported since 1 July, the lowest level in five years and well below the 4.1m tonnes at the same point last season.

Rapeseed markets remain strong, supported by firm soya bean prices and crude oil values.

Higher palm oil prices relative to soya oil are also supporting oilseed rape markets and therefore the crush margin for rapeseed.