THE US Department of Agriculture has surprised the markets by raising its estimates on soyabean production by more than 1.1m tonnes and on maize by 3.3m tonnes.

The announcement pushes forecast US soya production to 85.7m tonnes and maize to 297.2m tonnes.

Despite this, John Thorpe, oilseed trader at Centaur, said prices were up £5-£6/t last week for UK rapeseed, but farmers were reluctant to sell. High freight rates and low US export volumes for soyabeans should keep the price level, he added.

James Maw, a wheat trader at Glencore, said that the big US maize harvest would affect grain prices. “This will prevent world grain prices from having any significant rally. In the short term, the US market is slightly oversold and may need an adjustment to carry that stock out.”

But Mr Maw believed there would not be much effect on the trade in British feed wheat because the only market they had in common was south-east Asia.