Wheat worries as rain holds up harvest

By FWi staff

THE recent wet weather has harvesting almost to a complete standstill in many regions this week – resulting in concerns over quality.

A few harvesters were spotted at the weekend between the showers but, with rain setting in at the start of the week, little progress has been made.

And with more than 30% of the wheat crop planted with milling varieties, concern is mounting that if it fails to make milling standards, it could add to the aleady saturated feed surplus.

UK wheat prices eased £2/t last week and a further 90p/t in the past two days on the back of these quality concerns.

Ex-farm spot feed wheat values have fallen to just over £71/t, while bread wheat prices are about £84/t. Futures have also dropped, with September values at £74.60/t and November at £75.65/t.

Ian Pinner of Banks Agriculture said farmers were very reluctant to sell wheat harvested before the rain. And millers are reluctant to buy, he added.

Yields are indicating a larger crop, said Mr Pinner. “And if the quality is good theyll be thinking they might buy cheaper later.”

The weather outlook for the coming weeks is not good news for growers, with showers expected to continue.

Wet weather will hit Hagberg numbers eventually although, if some dry weather is seen in the near future, there is a possibility that a large proportion could still meet millers requirements, noted Cargills Ian Wallis.

But the wet weather is not bad news for everyone. The delay to harvesting has created some opportunities in the spot market, said Mr Wallis.

“Premiums for certain milling wheat varieties gained localised support earlier this week, and growers with stocks ready should look closely at these opportunities.

“Once further progress is made with, these openings – which are solely caused by tightness in short-term supply – will disappear,” he added.

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