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Farmers urged to take realistic marketing approach despite El Nino

With recent weather issues, UK farmers should not count on a bumper yield to prop up returns, one expert said


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Farmers are being urged to take a pragmatic approach to marketing grain despite concerns about the potential impact of El Nino in parts of the world.

 

El Nino, a weather event which occurs sporadically every few years, can change weather patterns in several regions important to arable production and cause issues for crop conditions.

 

Jack Watts, lead analyst at AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, urged UK farmers with grain in store to be realistic about the prospects of the market despite some global crop concerns.

 

"I do not see El Nino being a game changer in terms of price," he said. "It could put a bit more of a floor into the UK market. The weight of stocks is so heavy I do not think El Nino will have a major impact."

 

He added the concerns were for South East Asian palm oil and the Indian wheat crop, but Mr Watts said farmers should not pin their hopes on prices improving for the rest of the season.

 

He suggested with recent weather issues the domestic market could not count on another bumper yield to help returns amid the low prices.

 

"Crops will face a challenging growing season and we cannot make assumptions we will peak those yields [of recent years]," Mr Watts added.

 

Guy Gagen, chief arable adviser at the NFU, underlined farmers could not count on good yields this year but said many of the issues were in areas fewer arable crops were grown.

 

"Crops are going into spring in very good shape," he said. "There will be a lot of nitrogen coming out of the soil and into the crop with the mild weather."


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Jack Watts’s advice for arable marketing

Jack Watts’s advice for arable marketing

"Farmers need six to eight months of cash flow projection to see how much crop needs to keep moving off farm," Mr Watts said.

 

"The market is telling farmers to keep off the spot market. There are incentives for anybody willing to keep grain in store. Have a good understanding of cash flow."

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