UK wheat futures at £173/t with EU harvest prospects mixed

Wheat values in the UK have pushed up slightly in the past week, but remain under pressure due to large volumes of cheap exports from the Black Sea region on the global market.

May 2024 UK feed wheat futures rose to £173.5/t midweek, up marginally on week-earlier levels, but still within the same wider price range it has been in throughout April.

There is a continued lack of farmer selling in the UK at current prices, and November futures are at a £23/t premium.

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The spot price for ex-farm feed wheat collected by Farmers Weekly on 17 April was up by £4/t on the week at £172.4/t, while milling wheat dropped to £233.5/t.

Volumes of UK wheat exports have been very low, with the UK struggling to compete on price.

Exports in February totalled just 4,400t, the lowest figure for any month since August 2013, according to grain analyst firm CRM Agri.

EU market

Olivia Bonser, AHDB senior cereals and oilseeds analyst, said despite pressure in US markets, European wheat prices had been mixed so far this week.

“Support from a weaker euro was countered by cheaper Black Sea supplies.”

She added that better weather in France had improved crop conditions in the past week, but more rain was forecast.

The French wheat crop was rated at 64% good or excellent as of 8 April, down marginally on the previous week and a reduction from 93% last year, according to FranceAgriMer.

Meanwhile, durum wheat in France was rated at 70% good or excellent compared with 90% this time last year.

Germany and Poland were hit by persistent rain earlier in the year which affected plantings, but more recently crop conditions have been reported as good.

US plantings

Crop conditions in the US have been improving, with a more positive outlook released last week.

Traders at Frontier said 56% of US winter wheat was classed as good or excellent, compared with just 27% for the same period last year.