Grain column with Emma Croft

Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Limited.
Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Limited.

As the value of sterling climbs to 1.180 against the value of the Euro, an increase of almost 5% in just over a week, the value of UK feed wheat has dropped this week.

Old crop feed wheat for spot collection is currently valued in the region of £148/T – £150/T for February collection although for those of you who are looking for immediate movement, treat these prices with caution.

Vivergo is apparently due to open within the next 2/3 weeks and local feed wheat has been priced accordingly – any delays to the opening could delay movement of your wheat.

Although the USDA do not start releasing weekly crop reports regarding the condition of next season’s grains until mid April, the latest release of information has confirmed that, as initially suspected, both cold and dry conditions across the US plains has hindered winter wheat conditions across the US Plains.

According to the USDA, the worst affected state is Oklahoma, where just 25% of the state’s winter wheat crop is rated in good/excellent condition; this time last year, 77% of the crop was rated in this condition.

As for Kansas (the US top producing state), crop conditions are also very average with just 44% of its winter wheat crop rated in a good/excellent condition.

Furthermore, the less than ideal weather appears to have somewhat persisted across parts of the US plains so far this year, particularly across the central plains where there has been a significant build up of ice.

The colder spell ahead could also cause problems due to a lack of adequate snow cover.

Elsewhere, according to the latest EU crop monitoring report, Frost damage has been relatively limited for European crops so far this winter.

The results of the report came as a bit of surprise for the trade who were expecting to see some damage given the recent cold temperatures.

Fortunately, many crops had reached an advanced winter hardening stage by the time the cold weather hit – this includes most of the Ukrainian crop which was previously at risk of winterkill given a lack of snow cover.

Looking ahead, we could expect to see some level of frost kill in the west half of France, the UK and Denmark due to low winter hardening in these regions caused by the mild temperatures we have seen over the past few months.

This will be worth keeping an eye on for the coming weeks.