Wheat prices continued to firm this week, with midweek ex-farm spot values at £115/t to £123/t and full-spec spec milling wheat premiums at £42/t to £44/t.

Yorkshire, Scotland and the Borders saw the highest prices, on demand from bioethanol plants and compounders.

Speculator activity, particularly on US markets, has contributed further to the firmer tone and with sterling stronger again, the UK wheat market remains largely a domestic one

The spread of barley values was narrower, at £105/t to £111/t ex-farm.

The past two weeks have seen steady increases in 2014 harvest grain prices but some of the largest gains on futures markets have been in the 2015 crop, with concerns over the state of Russia’s winter wheat reported by researcher and consultant SovEcon.

About half of the Russian wheat area is winter sown, so at risk of winter kill, particularly if it’s poorly established and if snow cover does not provide sufficient insulation from the low winter temperatures.

HGCA warned that although these early reports had created some short term support for the market, it was too early for assumptions to be made around yields.