Grain market challenges push prices lower

UK grain markets have had another bearish week, with London’s May wheat futures losing £5.65/t to close at £112.85/t on Tuesday.

Farmers Weekly’s ex-farm average of £108.50/t included a wide range of prices, from £106-£114/t, reflecting strong local demand in Vivergo’s Hull bioethanol plant catchment area.

Slow farmer selling and strong sterling against the euro meant UK exporters still faced a challenging market. However, February’s UK wheat export tonnage of 267,000t was a three-year monthly high, boosted by non-EU trade. The EU market was yet to see any impact from the US bird flu outbreak, which had sent US futures tumbling.  

New crop markets were also under pressure following beneficial rains in the US and southern France, with November futures slipping by £3.90/t over the past week to £124.35/t on Tuesday. According to France AgriMer, French farmers had sown 27% of their maize by 13 April compared with 35% last year, and 92% of the wheat crop was rated good to excellent, despite dry conditions in the North.

Strategie Grains forecast this year’s UK crop would drop from 16.6m tonnes to 15.1m tonnes, with the EU soft wheat crop rising by 1.1m tonnes to 141.5m tonnes.

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