Grain markets have been extremely volatile over the past week, rocked by a bearish US Department of Agriculture report but supported by the weak pound.

The USDA report announced that farmers had planted a lot more maize than expected, at 92.3m acres. Chicago corn futures recorded the biggest one-day fall in more than 10 years as a result, putting pressure on European and British wheat values in turn, with London futures down by £11/t.

However, maize stocks remain tight, and with a limited wheat surplus in the UK and EU, combined with a weak pound, domestic values have rebounded, with spot feed wheat worth about £170/t ex-farm as Farmers Weekly went to press on Wednesday (6 July).

Oilseed rape has experienced similar volatility, following the negative sentiment down before rising back to about £387/t ex-farm for harvest movement. Smaller than expected US soya plantings and below average yields across Europe should be supportive, say traders.

However, as combines move north through Europe, yields are proving better than expected, says Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell Agriculture. “Crops in the south-east of the UK have been sprayed off so, weather permitting, we are expecting to see the first new crop rapeseed in about a fortnight.”