Trailer being loaded with grain© Tim Scrivener

Grain markets have improved over the past week, as the pound touched a three-year low against the euro and a 31-year low against the dollar.

Spot feed wheat prices gained almost £3/t in the week to Wednesday, to average £121.10/t ex-farm, with feed barley up by just over £1/t to £104.60/t.

However, physical trade remained slow with farmers proving reluctant sellers.

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Friday’s report (30 September) from the US Department of Agriculture put US maize stocks below trade expectations at 44.1m tonnes amid strong domestic and export demand.

In contrast, wheat stocks were the highest since 1988 at 68.8m tonnes. However, spring wheat output was cut by 11% on 2015, to 14.5m tonnes, adding to concerns over global milling supplies given damaging rain in Canada and Australia.

Surprisingly, UK milling premiums narrowed on the week, from £14/t over feed to £13/t, putting full-specification group one wheat at about £134/t ex-farm.

In the rapeseed sector, firmer crude oil markets were providing support, despite downwards pressure from excellent soya bean yields in the US. UK prices rose by £6/t on the week, to average £318.60/t for spot movement.

Dry weather in France continued to cause concern over winter rapeseed plantings, with wheat and barley drilling also under way.