UK wheat pushes up towards £200/t after season lows

Wheat prices for next season have firmed in the past week, driven by global supply factors and major disruption in Ukraine.

UK feed wheat futures peaked at £198.55/t on 6 June before settling at £194/t midweek for the November contract, an increase of £14/t on the week.

Global supply forecasts are tightening, with heavy rains in China affecting crop conditions, and the Australian department for agriculture, Abares, reducing the country’s production estimates as well.

See also: EU to provide €100m support to farmers and limit Ukrainian imports

Global wheat prices also surged earlier in the week following news of a dam explosion in Ukraine, which the Ukrainian agricultural ministry estimates will flood about 10,000ha of agricultural land and cause major issues for 31 irrigation systems in the region.

The ministry said: “In 2021, these systems provided irrigation for 584,000ha, from which we collected about 4m tonnes of grain and oilseeds, worth about US$1.5bn [£1.2bn].”

Measures to limit imports of Ukrainian grain to Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia were extended by the EU Commission on 5 June and will remain in place until 15 September.

However, large stocks of Ukrainian grain remain in storage in eastern Europe and, as harvest approaches, this will need to be moved to create space for this year’s crop, which could weigh on prices during the summer months.

Spot prices collected by Farmers Weekly on 7 June averaged £169/t ex-farm  for feed wheat and £239/t for milling wheat.