Sellers Market As Wheat Shortage Raises Prices

WHEAT is in short supply, creating strong demand and prices to match.

Bread wheats like Hereward and Malacca are worth at least 30/t over the August feed price for next week, with Soissons not far behind, says Robert Kerr of Glencore Grain.

“Its a sellers market. Millers are very short. We came into the season on bare boards, and the harvest is relatively late.

“And, with the problems in France and Germany, which are in turmoil, there is no ready access to grain there. It will take some time for millers to catch up.”

Feed wheat should also attract a 10/t premium over the next few days, he adds.

Poor weather in France and Germany continues to raise the long-term market stakes, says Mr Kerr. Only about half the French crop had been cut midweek.

“Most would normally have been put to bed. If our quality is good, then our wheat will be much more saleable, and should be well supported at these levels.

“If it is poor quality, then we will be competing against corn – and theres mountains of the stuff.”

Early samples suggest UK wheat quality is “all over the place. But some yields have been good, suggesting high bushel weights, vital for exports.

Winter barley has disappointed so far. Nationally, about half the crop has been cut, says Cargills Chris Toft. Fanfare has done better, but the “bright spot” is newcomer Pearl.

No real malting barley market has developed. But, as haulage costs rise, it is the Eastern counties growers on the doorsteps of maltsters who will fare best.

“Depending on locality, you can get 65-68/t on farm for August buyers call. Its not going to travel very far.”

Most maltsters have covered immediate requirements, using old crop carried over or new crop grown on contract. They are also waiting to see how quality pans out before making a move, says Bob King of Crisp Malting Group.

Spring barleys could be a better bet, he adds. “German plantings are well down, and have been hit by poor weather. It will be a net importer this year.”

That could help offset a bigger Danish crop. Premiums could hit 20/t over feed for good quality grain.

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