Wheat values rise as global food concerns mount

Grain markets remain volatile, driven by tight supply and political uncertainty.

Ex-farm feed wheat prices collected by Farmers Weekly on 13 April from a range of merchants and co-ops averaged £308/t for April collection, up by more than £8/t in a week.

Prices ranged from £301/t in Kent, East Sussex and Lincolnshire, to £335/t in Northumberland and the Borders.

See also: Regenerative Agriculture: How to start reducing crop inputs

May 2022 UK feed wheat futures stood at £322/t at midday on Wednesday (13 April), after reaching a record high of £323/t on Tuesday (14 April).

This is a £17.50/t rise on week-earlier levels and up £97.50/t since the start of 2022.

Meanwhile, new-crop prices are starting to move closer to old-crop values, as new-season supplies come into focus, according to the AHDB.

Global markets

Dry conditions in the US, conflict in Ukraine and reduced cropping in India are all supporting global grain markets.

Grain trading adviser CRM Agri said US winter wheat remains in poor condition, demand for US maize is growing and Egypt is looking for wheat.

A US announcement this week allowing a higher inclusion of ethanol in road fuel will increase demand for maize over the summer, while China has made some very large US maize purchases in the past few days.

Several important grain producing regions in China are short of fertiliser and other inputs as strict lockdowns are curtailing deliveries.

The US Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released on 8 April, forecast increased global wheat consumption, reduced trade and lower ending stocks.

AHDB Cereals said: “Ukrainian grain exports via rail are reportedly experiencing large delays and ports remain closed, too.

“This means competitively priced Russian wheat is reportedly picking up demand from large importer Egypt, as well as other north African and Middle East countries.”

Feed barley

Ex-farm feed barley prices averaged £302.50/t for April collection on 13 April.

Barley markets are quieter than wheat, with demand lacking. North African crops are struggling with hot and dry conditions, while EU markets see barley trading reasonably for new crop, according to grain trader Cefetra.