By Olivia Cooper

BARLEY exports for 2000/01 are predicted to be 17% down on last months estimate, according to the HGCAs latest supply and demand figures.

Although the animal feed usage figure was increased, it was not enough to counter the lower exports, so barley stocks ended 100,000t higher than Junes estimate.

But the market has done little in reaction to the figures, as harvest becomes the trades focal point.

Winter barley yields are generally better than first expected. An early estimate by Glencore Grain shows an average of 6.44t/ha (2.6t/ac).

“But yield and quality is so varied this year, averages could be very misleading,” says senior trader Robert Kerr.

Of the few samples Glencore has analysed, quality appears to be good, with 75% of the barley grown for malting making the grade, which is a “very good hit rate”.

Oilseed rape yields are disappointing, and there are moisture problems, with samples coming below 6%, and some as low as 3% moisture.

This will make oil extraction difficult, and rejections from the crushers could increase, says Mr Kerr.

French milling wheat plantings have been increased by 9%, covering 83% of the total wheat area, says ONIC, the French cereals authority.

This will mean more competition on quality wheat, with the French market weakening to Euro124/t (76/t) delivered to the port, says the HGCA.

Early milling wheat appears to be of good quality, although with such a small area harvested it is too soon to tell.

The early doubts over crop size and quality caused some millers to carry over larger stocks than normal, with many farmers doing the same, says Glencore.

The result is supply exceeding demand in the short term, although levels remain firm at 91-95/t ex-farm for November.

Feed wheat prices have eased to 73-75/t ex-farm for August, as consumers become covered for August/September.