The Grain column with Emma Croft

Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Ltd.
Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Ltd.

Last week was another week of weather watching, monitoring currency movements and hoping for rain.

Many local growers, particularly those on lighter land are becoming increasingly concerned for crops ahead of yet another dry week.

Some areas may catch a few showers over the weekend but for most it’s set to remain largely dry.

Old crop feed wheat for spot collection is currently being valued just short of £150/T ex-farm – please contact the office to discuss your requirements.

With two Bank Holidays and consequently two four-day weeks this month, movement is slow and end-user demand is quiet.

Trade rumours would suggest that there is a large vessel of maize making its way up to Teeside; this should nicely keep them going until the combines start rolling here.

New crop feed wheat should make £135/T ex-farm for as available collection at harvest whil emovement before the end of the year should make £140/T ex-farm.

In true Grain Trade style last week’s panic regarding snowfall over in the US appears to have quite literally dissipated; any snowfall has now melted and the trade appears to have forgotten about it.

However, the slight boost given to the market at the beginning of last week has remained, supported by the ongoing political uncertainty in Europe.

The extent of the damage done is yet to be assessed as further low temperatures are continuing to slow development – I will keep you posted on anything further.

Meanwhile, the latest French crop condition scores (from FranceAgriMer) have revealed another drop in the quality of the developing soft wheat crop.

For the week ending Monday 1 May, 75% of the soft wheat crop was described as being in a “good/very good” condition compared with 78% a week earlier.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the current condition score is lower than equivalent ratings in 2016 and 2015.

Although this may seem premature – it isn’t when you also consider that the recent dry spell is set to continue for at least another ten days or so.

The current estimate for French soft wheat output in 2017/18 by Strategie Grains is 37.4 million tonne – this is a 9.5 million tonne increase on last year’s disastrous crop.

With a big crop forecast and dry weather threatening the condition of winter crops, this will certainly be worth watching over the coming few weeks.