Frontrunner - 26th November 2021

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European wheat futures rallied further this week, striking new record-high levels as bullish drivers continue to influence markets. Adverse wet weather across east and southeast Australia has proved damaging for wheat crops with reports of sprouted grains and quality wheat consigned to the feed bin. The world's major milling wheat importers were hoping that the arrival of a predicted bumper crop in Australia would ease the tight supply of quality wheat and cap record prices but that may no longer be the case.

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 Powell.

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Frontrunner - 19th November 2021

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European wheat futures struck new record highs in volatile trading this week. Markets continued to rise, reacting to further notable purchases from some of the world's major wheat importers while being mindful of the likelihood of further export restrictions for Russia, the world's primary wheat exporter. Algeria weighed in with a chunky purchase, thought to be up to 800,000 tonnes, having to pay up to $384/t including freight for shipment mid-December to the end of January.

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

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The important role of supplementary feeding

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As a nation, I think it's fair to say we are all interested in the well-being of our wildlife, particularly those species which can often be at risk. While looking at some of the more recent bird count results published by the RSPB and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), it's clear to see that conservation efforts in the UK are starting to pay back and produce a slow but positive increase in our songbird populations. But the work is far from over.

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Value of nitrogen: the importance of well-informed decisions

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The word 'unprecedented' very accurately describes what has happened in the fertiliser world this year but even that doesn't seem enough to convey the exceptional rise in price and shortage of supply. In 25 years, I haven't seen anything like these price levels; to be honest I don't think I expected to see them in my working life and I still have a...
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Frontrunner - 12th November 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its November World Agricultural Supply and Demands Estimate (WASDE) report early this week, bringing an end to a short spell of declining prices. A revised estimate for world wheat stocks was released, which was below average trade estimates. The USDA cut world wheat stocks from 277.18 million tonnes to 275.80 million tonnes. This revision changed the negative market sentiment. The profit-taking that was seen from the middle of last week reverted to bullish enthusiasm.

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

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Frontrunner - 5th November 2021

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Wheat markets have continued to go from strength to strength. Future markets have moved sharply higher, with price gains of over 25% since early September. This rise has been driven by wheat production losses for major exporters Canada, US and Russia and by a loss of French quality amidst strengthening demand.

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

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Maize: Season review and post-harvest soil management with cover crops

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Maize is a high-value crop with a number of uses and so it is not surprising to see that the planted area is increasing year on year. With harvest now complete, it's a good opportunity to think about the learnings from this season as well as any steps you can take to reduce overwinter soil erosion and nutrient loss following removal of the crop.

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Frontrunner - 29th October 2021

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Wheat futures prices soared again this week, striking new contract highs. This is another record on the back of multi-year highs, driven currently by strong export demand and concerns for tightening world supplies. The Paris wheat market reached its highest level since March 2008 following the release of the EU weekly export data which shows exports have now reached 8.99 million tonnes. Official data for France dating back to July remains incomplete showing just 753,000 tonnes shipped. However, unofficial vessel counts suggest that almost 2.6 million tonnes have been loaded, which would take the total EU shipments to an unsustainable 11 million tonnes.

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

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Frontrunner - 22nd October 2021

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China is the largest wheat producing country and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates the country's total production this season will reach 136.9 million tonnes. However, Chinese government officials said this week that persistent heavy rain impacting the main wheat producing areas across the country has left planting at only 26% complete so far.

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

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Frontrunner - 15th October 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated markets with the release of its October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report this week, presenting bullish data that further underpins the strong prevailing prices. Traders expected to see cuts for Canadian wheat output in line with updates from local analysts. Prolonged spells of heat and dryness have been significantly damaging to the Canadian crop and the USDA now sees the crop total down to 21 million tonnes. This is down two million tonnes on last month and 14 million tonnes down on last year. The US wheat production estimate was lowered by 1.4 million tonnes in line with yield adjustments published on 30th September.

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

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Frontrunner - 8th October 2021

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Wheat markets continued to rise this week, supported by strong export trade and uncertainty over Russian wheat export capability. Paris wheat futures have set new contract highs, gaining over 10% in value since the 20th September. So far this season, from 1st July to 4th October, Brussel's trade data showed the EU had shipped just over eight million tonnes of wheat.

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

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Frontrunner - 1st October 2021

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Paris and London wheat futures rallied to new contract highs this week, the jump in prices triggered by bullish wheat stocks and production data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). US wheat stocks estimates for the 1st September 2021 have been set at 1.78 billion bushels - 70 million bushels below average trade estimates and the lowest since 2007. The USDA also cut its 2021 US wheat production estimate by 50 million bushels from its previous estimate, down to a new total of 1.646 billion bushels. This is the equivalent of 44.79 million tonnes and, if realised, will be the smallest US wheat crop for 19 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, Becca Russell.

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Frontrunner - 24th September 2021

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London wheat futures prices gained 3.5% from their low on Monday and came within £4/t of the contract high which was achieved in the middle of August. Following higher world market prices, there seemed no clear catalyst for the sharp price rise, but the latest export data from the EU and US was supportive.

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 Powell.

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Frontrunner - 17th September 2021

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Late last Friday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report; much in line with traders' expectations it produced neutral to bearish data. World wheat production is seen rising 3.7 million tonnes up to 780 million tonnes, with Australia up 1.5 million tonnes to 31.5 million tonnes and India up 1.52 million tonnes to 109.52 million tonnes.

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

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Frontrunner - 10th September 2021

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FranceAgriMer updated its French wheat crop data this week with changes that highlighted the poor quality of its crop. Domestic and export milling specifications demand that grain specific weight meets at least 76kgs but only 30% of the crop is estimated to have reached that standard. Such poor French wheat crop quality is unusual; last season over 98% of France's crop met the minimum 76kgs standard. The Hagberg falling number (HFN) is also an issue, with only 67% meeting the minimum 220 specification.

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

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Variable rate seed: The ability to adapt

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As I begin to think about variable rate seed, I can't help getting out of my head that for the past year there has been a lot of talk of change and adapting within agriculture. The more I thought about it, I concluded (probably later than many others) that agriculture has always been a case of adapting whether it be to new products, new machinery, new guidance or the ever-changing weather.

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Optimising beet yield if delaying lifting to increase sugars

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Right now, beet crops are looking good. We're seeing high plant stand and root weight and, on the whole, virus yellows appear to be even lower than predicted after the cold spring.

However, while a reduction in the number of usual sunshine hours didn't impact oilseed rape yields this season - possibly because the frosts helped with canopy management – it's reported that the sugar percentage in beet needs time to increase to ensure haulage of good, adjusted tonnage. 

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Frontrunner - 3rd September 2021

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Earlier this week Statistics Canada (StatsCan) updated its country's wheat crop estimate, now seeing the crop falling to 22.95 million tonnes. This compares to 35.18 million tonnes last year and, if realised, will be Canada's smallest crop for 14 years. Persistent excessive heat and dryness for much of the growing season has slashed yield potential for Canada; one of the world's major wheat exporters.

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

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Frontrunner - 27th August 2021

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In contrast to UK feed wheat futures, the Paris futures market has a milling standard specification. Under normal circumstances traders may elect to deliver physical wheat against their futures sales at harvest or buy futures as a hedge against milling wheat export sales they make.

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

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Opportunities to make soil sampling pay

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With a bullish global fertiliser market pushing prices up as we approach the new season, the importance of soil sampling to help optimise inputs is arguably greater than ever before. When you combine this with the recent Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) release stating growers can be financially rewarded for monitoring and improving soil health, it's not surprising to learn that sampling is becoming a greater priority.

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