Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 30th April 2021

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Wheat and corn futures continued to drive higher earlier this week, setting new contract highs. US markets reached their highest level for eight years and Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures pushed above $7/bu – a level double their contract low. New crop London wheat futures at their highest had risen over this month by an impressive £35/t. Higher European futures markets reflected concerns for both winter and spring crops following the prolonged period of dry weather and, in places, record low April temperatures impacting on most of northern Europe.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 23rd April 2021

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Persistent cold dry weather affecting much of the US and Western Europe coupled with ongoing Chinese demand drove wheat and corn markets sharply higher this week. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures have gained over 8% since last Friday's close and are trading over $7 per bushel, bringing them to their highest level since May 2014. European new crop wheat futures have been equally impressive, setting new contract highs. London November 2021 wheat futures are now £26/t above their end of March low.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by farm trader Ollie Wilson.

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Spring blog series: Increase NUE to improve your farm efficiency rating

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If a production system experiences losses, its efficiency is going to be reduced. Often this can lead to a reduction in output too and, if losses are severe enough, even an increase to overall running costs.

If we look at this in relation to our fertiliser programmes the risks are similar, so preventing any losses can lead to some real gains. For example, by reducing the CO2e/t of production you could improve your margins and simultaneously benefit the environment.

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Frontrunner - 16th April 2021

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Wheat markets continued to rise this week, reacting to increasing concerns for wheat crops as dry and very cold weather persists in Western Europe and parts of the US. The latest US drought monitor maps show an increasing area of extreme drought now impacting on over three-quarters of major spring wheat state, North Dakota. However, spring wheat drilling in the state achieved 8% completion by 11th April compared to the 2% average for this time of year. Nationally, spring drilling is 11% complete compared to the 6% average.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is ready by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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Boosting spring crops with biostimulants

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This blog is the second and final installment in our series looking at the value of biostimulants, including why a sequenced approach - such as that within our BioPlan nutrition programme - can prove beneficial when it comes to pushing crop performance. While our first blog covered the benefits and application guidance for winter crops, this one explores the opportunities for spring crops and includes some useful trials data.

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Frontrunner - 9th April 2021

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European wheat markets dropped to their lowest so far this year following the Easter break. A lack of fresh demand and generally favourable Northern Hemisphere winter wheat conditions were highlighted as the reasons for the continued downward trend which has been in place since early March. However, US wheat futures rallied sharply on Thursday, taking Paris and London wheat futures higher too. Increasing concerns for dry soil conditions ahead of spring wheat drilling in the north of the US and Canada has been the catalyst for change in market sentiment.

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Flail mowing a perfectly good crop of oilseed rape 16 weeks after drilling it?

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Mowing down a perfectly good crop of oilseed rape in November seems very counterintuitive to most growers. Yet, early indications suggest that this method could reduce cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) pressure without using insecticides.

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Frontrunner - 1st April 2021

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On Wednesday 31ST March, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its quarterly US stocks and acreage report. It contained bullish data for corn that triggered a sharp price rally for Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures, sending them to new contract highs; the highest level seen since 2013. Despite the report having bearish wheat data, wheat futures followed corn futures higher, ending the recent slide in prices that had dropped to a three-month low prior to the report.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Spring blog series: Are your fertiliser programmes still right?

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With April quite literally around the corner and early nitrogen doses now applied, it's an opportune time to reflect on what's happened so far this season and factor in decisions for future applications. I believe it's always sensible to constantly question the fertiliser plans and programmes made earlier in the season and it's not to say they are wrong, it's to check they are still right!

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Frontrunner - 26th March 2021

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World wheat markets have fallen again this week and have now effectively lost all the price gains they made in 2021. London wheat futures fell to their lowest level since the 17th December. In January, fears that Russia would close the door on wheat exports saw Black Sea export prices soar to £300/t free on board (FOB), before including freight costs. Buyers are now harder to find and traders' offers were reported to have fallen to $250/t searching for demand. Prices have fallen sharply despite strong exports to date for the world's major producers. Weekly wheat export sales for the US were 344,000 tonnes, taking the season's total sold to almost 93% of the surplus estimated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is just ahead of average at this time of year.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 19th March 2021

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World wheat markets have slipped 2-3% lower this week following better than expected wheat crop estimates from analysts for many of the world's primary wheat exporters: the US, Russia, Ukraine, and the EU.

Much of the US wheat belt has stayed dry for several months but recent snow and rain has proved beneficial. Weekly crop ratings were 'good' to 'excellent' for both Oklahoma and Kansas which were up four points to 57% and two points to 38% respectively. More rain is due with significant storms forecast to arrive.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week's report is read by farm trader, Lottie Bauer.

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Maximising your winter crops' potential with biostimulants

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We are seeing an increased interest from growers when it comes to the use of advance micro-nutrition and biostimulants as part of their integrated approach to pushing crop performance. Given where we are in the season, we thought it would be useful to give an overview of biostimulants and their role in crop production – specifically how and when to use them. We'll also explain our BioPlan service and how taking a sequenced approach to applications can support overall performance and sustainability.

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Spring blog series: Time to carry out your 'crop MOTs'

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At this stage of the season, there is a lot to think about and plan on farm.

Of course, the priorities from one farm to the next will always differ depending on location, rotation, soil conditions and overall crop production strategies. With that in mind, we're compiling a spring blog series that covers some of the key considerations and activities for this time of year – a group of posts to help you carry out some 'crop MOTs' if you will. This first blog focuses on spring nutrition for cereals and oilseed rape, but we'll be covering other crops and considerations in the coming days. To be notified each time a new blog is published, you can subscribe here.

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Frontrunner - 12th March 2021

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Earlier this week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. Speculative traders holding significant long positions in US grain futures were hoping for a helping hand to support their bullish view but were left disappointed.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by farm trader, Ollie Wilson.

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Potatoes without diquat: Keeping an eye on your nitrogen levels when using PPO inhibitors

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Since the loss of the desiccant diquat last February, growers have had to look at alternatives in their potato crop burn-down programmes. For many, this means a closer look at nitrogen applications is also needed.

Most growers have turned to PPO inhibitors as an alternative to diquat for desiccating their potato crops. However, as PPO inhibitors work differently to diquat, this has an impact on subsequent nitrogen rates.

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Stepping into a new season

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For those of you managing shoots or overseeing any sporting activity, I don't doubt that you will have had an array of challenges to contend with. With so much change it can be difficult to think about what's next, but there's still plenty to get off the ground as we look ahead to 2021/2022. As the industry embarks on a whole-farm approach to environmental land management, the ways that farmers are paid to manage the land is changing and 2021 marks the start of a new chapter for environmental policy. For farms with sporting interests, there are some considerable benefits to be seen and a lot of food for thought.

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Frontrunner - 5th March 2021

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World wheat markets have slipped this week. A lack of fresh bullish features has led to spells of profit taking from speculative buyers who still carry significant long positions in grain futures markets. US weekly wheat export shipments and sales were particularly disappointing. However, the weekly export pace from the EU was far more encouraging. Wheat shipments for last week were one million tonnes, taking the total now shipped to over 17.5 million tonnes.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 26th February 2021

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The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) updated estimates for the current season's UK wheat balance sheet this week, highlighting a huge two-million-tonne cut in domestic wheat consumption. Demand in the human and industrial sectors is now seen at 6.438 million tonnes; almost half a million tonnes lower than last season.

This is primarily due to loss of demand for biofuel and starch following the closure of the Roquette plant in Corby in December. Miller demand is also lower as a result of the impact of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns. 

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week's report is read by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 19th February 2021

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A period of extreme cold has affected the primary US winter wheat producing states in recent days. Temperatures nearing record lows of between -15-20°c have been recorded as far south as Texas and concerns that wheat crops will be subject to winter kill has triggered volatile trading in Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures. Prices rallied to their highest since the end of January as the chief meteorologist of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggested crops in Texas and Oklahoma had been lost to the severe cold.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Nigel Dring.

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Frontrunner - 12th February 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report on Tuesday this week, which many traders expected to present a very bullish picture for world grains, particularly corn.

Last week's record US corn sales to China coupled with adverse South American weather over the past month, which has impacted on corn production prospects for Argentina and Brazil, encouraged further buying. Prior to the publication of the WASDE report, these circumstances had taken US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures to new contract highs; the highest for 7.5 years.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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