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Global pressure drives UK wheat prices down following increased expectations

Global pressure has driven UK wheat prices down in recent weeks following increased expectations for the crop in the US and Russia.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Global pressure drives UK wheat prices down following increased expectations

Analysts have added about 15 million tonnes to global wheat forecasts, which has weighed on prices in the UK and around the world.

 

ODA UK analyst Rupert Somerscales said: “Initially it was due to falling prices in the US and a bearish crop report there. Every analyst has been increasing production estimates for Russia.

 

“It has pressured European prices lower and UK prices have come off the boil. But these have been less affected because of the impact of the pound.”

 

The UK harvest got off to an early start but has slowed due to colder, wetter weather.

 

However, the early cut in the east has been of ‘exceptional’ quality, according to Mr Somerscales.

 

“As time has gone by, with weather deteriorating, some crops have been impacted. A lot of it was very wet,” he said.

 

In the Midlands, he had seen average yields and quality, with those further north less impacted by the rain.


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Crops on south coast affected by rain

 

Unseasonable weather bringing torrential downpours in some areas over several days added to concerns about yields but crops have stood up well, according to growers.

 

However, quality has been variable.

 

In Hertfordshire, Robert Law, who farms 1,600 hectares (3,952 acres) near Royston, said average spring barley yields in the area were about 6t/ha (2.4t/acre).

 

He said he had heard any wheat still to cut in the area would go for feed.

 

“A week or 10 days ago I heard Hagbergs had collapsed,” he said.

 

Tom Eaton, wheat trader at Glencore, said milling wheat quality was variable, ranging from very good with 80kg/hl specific weights, 400 seconds Hagbergs and 14 per cent protein, to sprouting grains where Hagbergs had gone below specification and specific weights were low.

 

Most issues were on the south coast where wheat was fit but did not stand the rain.

 

However, he said there was unlikely to be an increase in imports, with a large area of milling wheat varieties planted.

 

The milling wheat premium was also above last year’s level.

 

Mr Somerscales added there would be sufficient milling wheat available.

 

He said: “The premium has not gone through the roof. It is about £15-£16/tonne which suggests there is ample.”

 

Jonathan Hoyland, barley and oat trader at Frontier, said spring barley had seen high nitrogen levels in some areas, probably caused by periods of drought followed by heavy rainfall.

 

“It is causing a lot of head scratching regarding what maltsters can and cannot take,” he said.

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