Feed wheat prices are firming as stores clear ahead of harvest

Feed wheat prices have rallied this week as end-of-season stocks grow tighter ahead of harvest.

The move was helped by DEFRA’s recent revision of its estimate of domestic feed wheat consumption, which it raised by 128,000t.

Traders reckoned about 2m tonnes of the UK’s 2.3m-tonne exportable surplus had been shipped by the end of April, with the rest looking “very achievable” by the end of the season.

As Farmers Weekly went to press, ex-farm values above £70/t were achievable in most areas of the country, with £75/t quoted in northern England and Shropshire.

Milling wheat premiums had kept pace, with most traders offering £75-£79/t for spot movement of best quality varieties and £80/t into July.

Spot prices were about the strongest seen all season, said Gleadell’s David Sheppard.

“At £75/t-plus for July feed wheat, we’re not export-competitive – but we don’t need to be.

Most farmers want stores cleared by the end of June.

That only leaves six weeks to make a marketing decision.”

Referring to DEFRA’s revised estimate, Nidera UK’s managing director Mark Dawdry said there had been much less grain available for some weeks.

“Domestic consumption may even now be understated.

The physical market in the interior is not reflecting these figures – it’s tighter.”

This was helping values, he said.

“Most of our farmer clients are now close to selling out or have outstanding commitments which prevent them selling any significant volumes ahead of harvest.”

David Doyle, head of Grainfarmers’ wheat desk, said ex-farm prices had been further buoyed by interest from Dutch and German buyers as end-of-season stocks grew tighter in northern France.

New crop values of £65-£67/t for harvest and £70/t for November movement looked fairly secure, said Mr Sheppard.

“The EU crop is expected to grow by about 4m tonnes this year, even though the UK’s crop is forecast to be slightly down at 14.5m tonnes.

So we’ll have a smaller exportable surplus, but we still have to sell it.”


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