Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 27th November 2020

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In a trading week that was shorter than usual due to Thanksgiving, there has been little fresh wheat news. Instead, markets have been buoyed by China's continued purchasing of US corn. With another 200,000 tonnes purchased last week, the market continues to predict China's overall demand. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated it will reach 7.2 million tonnes while other private analysts are estimating that China will tender up to 30 million tones of US corn.

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

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Frontrunner - 20th November 2020

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World wheat markets stalled this week with a lack of any fresh bullish features to drive them higher again. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures drifted as their winter wheat crop rating made modest improvements following recent rains. 46% of the crop is rated 'good' to 'excellent' and is up one point on the week. This is still well behind this time last year when 52% of the crop received this rating.

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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Using grain protein to plan your nitrogen rates

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The nitrogen inputs to your crops can be one of the most important factors that influence crop output and, ultimately, the profitability of your business. There is a wealth of tools and information to help guide you when it comes to applying the optimum rate of nitrogen, but how do you know if you are actually getting it right and making the best use of these applications to maximise your financial return?

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Frontrunner - 13th November 2020

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World wheat markets rallied this week following the publication of the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday afternoon. There were few changes to the world wheat estimates from last month's report.

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 - 6th November 2020

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Earlier this week, wheat markets eased lower following concerns that the increasing impact of Covid-19 will lead to cuts in global demand for grains, particularly from the fuel sector. Wheat price gains made in the second half of October were all but lost. However, on Thursday, the US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean market jumped to $11 per bushel, a four-year high, which pulled world wheat prices higher with it.

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

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Frontrunner - 30th October 2020

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World wheat markets have made impressive gains in price since harvest, highlighted by US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures which, by the end of last week, had gained over 25% in value. This is impressive as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates a record world wheat crop of 733 million tonnes - up nine million tonnes on last year. Furthermore, USDA estimates see stocks rising by 22 million tonnes on the year to 321 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 - 23rd October 2020

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Earlier this week the world's futures markets continued to rise, extending their bull run that began back in August. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures were close to a six-year high whilst Paris and London wheat futures each set new contract highs. Prolonged dry weather has been an increasing concern for wheat crops in Argentina, the US and Russia, and has latterly been the primary price driver. Each of these countries has received some rain, which is a benefit for some regions but mostly deemed insufficient, particularly for Russia where the forecast remains dry.

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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Supporting your farmland birds this winter

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With increasingly erratic weather patterns - this year being no exception - one thing that remains constant is the lack of food availability for farmland birds over the course of the winter and early spring months.  

When out on farm, we are often shown some really excellent wild bird seed mix plots which provide a mass of food for our seed-eating birds, but no matter how much care and attention is given to these plots, birds will invariably run out of seed by January. This is where supplementary winter feeding comes in...

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Frontrunner - 16th October 2020

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There has been little fresh news for markets this week, although on Thursday world futures markets posted significant rallies with many hitting new contract highs. Speculative funds were again assertive buyers of Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat and corn contracts as they continue to build significant long positions. Their stake in the markets is similar to those they held back in 2010 and 2012 when adverse weather severely cut wheat and corn output for many of the world's primary producers.

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

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Frontrunner - 9th October 2020

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The world's wheat futures markets rallied to new highs this week as prolonged dry weather conditions threatened wheat crops for some of the world's leading producers. Speculative funds were increasingly active buyers and took Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat prices to their highest level for five years. Wheat crops in Argentina and the US are suffering from a lack of rain, but it is dry soils extending across most of Russia that is raising the greatest concern. Russian farmers have planted over 70% of their winter wheat but ongoing dry conditions and warm temperatures could see newly planted seed fail to germinate...

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 - 2nd October 2020

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Late on Wednesday afternoon this week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its quarterly US grains Productions and Stocks Report and final 2020 US wheat production estimates. This is a quarterly report which often passes without much attention. Yet, the results of this report triggered a significant price rally for the world's grain and oilseeds markets. Supportive data was perhaps expected but not to the extent revealed.

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

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Greening post-2020: What does it all mean?

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As I'm sure many of you have noticed given the many news articles in recent weeks, there is still quite a bit of noise surrounding the change to greening rules for 2021.

While the announcement from George Eustice may have come on the 27th July, there is still an air of confusion amongst many growers, particularly in relation to current agreements and how best to plan ahead. This has been further amplified following the recent news confirming that there may now be a 'stepping stone' subsidy scheme from 2022 to cover the transition period to the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme which is due to launch in 2024.  If you're feeling uncertain about the requirements now or what to do next, we've put some answers to common questions below.

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Frontrunner - 25th September 2020

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Early this week, world wheat markets eased from their recent highs, with futures seeing some technical corrections. However, on Thursday, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) data; the content of which sent London wheat futures back to their contract highs. The BPS data suggests the UK wheat area for the 2019 harvest could be 3% smaller than the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) June survey stated.

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 - 18th September 2020

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Late last Friday afternoon, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. It increased wheat production estimates for Australia, Canada and the EU, adding 4.5 million tonnes to world output, bringing the total prediction to 770.49 million tonnes and increasing season end stocks to 319.37 million tonnes. This is up almost 20 million tonnes on the year.

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

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Frontrunner - 11th September 2020

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Brexit discussions between the UK government and EU negotiators ran aground this week. The prospects for the UK leaving the EU without a deal became increasingly likely and concerns this will be damaging for the UK economy triggered a sterling sell-off in foreign exchange markets. By close of play on Thursday, sterling had fallen during the week by more than 3% versus the euro to its lowest level since March. London wheat futures rallied £8/t with buyers also concerned that a 'no deal' Brexit could lead to tariffs on EU wheat of up to £78/t. This presents a very challenging prospect for UK millers.

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

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P and K blog series: The important considerations for post-harvest applications

Fertiliser spread

The stark variation across the country has continued into harvest this year, with some areas completed a couple of weeks ago while others are struggling to make real headway as a result of the wet weather. Where completed, the SOYL applications team has been busy processing fertiliser recommendations ready for post-harvest P and K applications - allowing new season orders to be booked. 

For many growers though, doing this raises the question: What considerations should be made when planning P and K management?

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Frontrunner - 4th September 2020

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US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures rallied to a five-month high earlier this week. Since early August, CBOT wheat futures have risen in value by an impressive 12%; impressive, because many regard the world wheat market as bearish. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sees world wheat stocks rising by 16mt this season to a record 317mt. This prediction follows significant production increases for Russia and Canada and predicted increases for Australia.

In contrast, recent Chinese buying of US wheat, corn and soybeans has lead to a wave of fund short covering, pushing US wheat futures higher. US wheat and corn sales this week were at the top end of traders' expectations, with approximately 600,000t and 2.6mt sold respectively.

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 - 28th August 2020

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London and Paris wheat futures rallied this week, reaching five-week highs and following US wheat futures from the Chicago Board of Trade which gained 10% in value during August. The US market gains are due to increasing demand for both wheat and corn. US wheat export sales announced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday were at 740,000 tonnes – this is up on trader estimates which ranged between 400,000 and 700,000 tonnes.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week, the report is read by national grain origination manager, Andrew Hill. 

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Frontrunner - 21st August 2020

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One of the major bearish influences for the world wheat market is the increasing production prospects for the Russian wheat harvest. In any normal season, the best yields are seen in the south where harvest begins, and the yields fall as the harvest progresses northwards through the country. This year, however, southern Russia endured prolonged drought and heat, leaving early yields 27% down on the year and raising concerns for overall production. However, in contrast to other seasons, yields continued to improve throughout the harvest.

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

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Frontrunner - 14th August 2020

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Speculative selling on wheat futures markets continued this week and saw values from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) drop to a six-week low. The increasing size of the Russian wheat crop seemed sufficient to encourage sellers, as analysts published new estimates surpassing 80 million tonnes. Average yields are running above last year and, with a larger wheat area drilled, it seems likely that Russia will produce its second largest wheat crop on record. However, there is still time for the average yield to fall as some of the worst drought-affected spring wheat areas are yet to be combined.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by barley trader, Westly Garner.

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