14 April 1998
Stored grain, wool plagued by Sterling

FARMERS who have had the capacity to store grain, at least until the following spring, have achieved higher prices over the past 12 years than those who sold at harvest time.

But a report produced by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority shows that farmers who stored grain last season, from September to March, before selling actually made a loss of 15% on wheat and 11% on barley compared with farmers who sold at harvest.

The same postponement of selling in 1996-97 meant losses of 11% an 9% respectively.

Most of the losses of the past two years have been due to the rise of Sterling, the report said.

Meanwhile, UK wool prices have slumped as export demand has shrunk because of the pound.

Barely half the 2.4 million kg on offer from the British Wool Marketing Board was sold at this months sale. The average price was 72p/kg compared with 99p at a comparable sale last year.

The board claims it has still managed to clear 85% of the 1997 clip – about 46m kg – at “higher prices than the market could have expected” compared with 90% clearance this time last year.

  • The Scotsman 14/04/98 page 29