Mixed messages for grain market

Better US corn crop prospects are weighing on the world market, taking wheat prices down alongside corn.

There have been some significant purchases of grain by Egypt and Algeria with China expected to follow. However in Russia, the Grain Producers Union predicts the wheat harvest will be 45-48m tonnes compared with the government estimate of at least 50m tonnes.

Crop damage by hot and dry weather in central Russia was responsible for the lower estimate, according to Martell Crop Projections.

In the UK a tentative start to harvest brought some promising barley results but also concerns some wheat will suffer as hot, dry weather cuts the grain-fill period.

Spot feed wheat prices were in a range from £155 to £160/t ex-farm in England as Farmers Weekly went to press (on Wednesday 24 July) but were up to £170/t in Scotland, depending on location. New crop feed wheat for harvest movement was worth the same in England but was worth about £1/t more in Scotland.

The discount between wheat and barley prices remains at about £20/t but there is the prospect of a new market for UK barley with the re-opening this autumn of the Ensus biofuel plant, where managers have signalled they may use some barley.

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