Frontrunner - 27th May 2022

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Wheat futures markets have again been volatile this week and have fallen sharply with losses extending by over 10% from the record highs reached earlier this month. Long liquidation and speculative selling gathered pace in response to newswire reports that Russia would provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine. Analysts estimate that over 21 million tonnes of grain will be trapped in Ukraine by the end of this season due to the Russian navy blockade of the country's Black Sea ports. The loss of Ukrainian grain supplies to the world's major importers has been the primary wheat price driver since the Russian invasion in February and has been the main element contributing to the prevailing global food crisis.

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 - 20th May 2022

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The world's wheat futures markets opened the week with another notable rise in prices, setting new record highs following the news that India would ban wheat exports with immediate effect. The Indian government reacted to fears of an intense heatwave during March which cut yields, sending the country's domestic prices to record highs.

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 - 13th May 2022

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report this week along with its eagerly awaited first look at the 2022-23 season. The report contained lower than expected production for US winter wheat and corn. Additionally, it outlined lower than expected world wheat stocks which sent markets sharply higher again. European wheat futures rallied again and set new contract highs.

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 - 6th May 2022

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The primary price driver for the world's wheat markets continues to be the impact on supply chains resulting from the conflict in Ukraine. Traders have been assessing how the world's major wheat importers can source alternative wheat supplies and had found that India was able to fulfil some of the shortfall. India had been expecting to harvest a record wheat crop of up to 111.3 million tonnes, which would be its fifth consecutive year of record production. Furthermore, its wheat exports had the potential to reach eight 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, Faye Lee.

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Nitrogen guidance for milling wheat

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At this time of year, I'm often asked: "How much nitrogen should I apply to my milling wheat crops?" My tongue-in-cheek response to that question is often: "Tell me exactly how much your crop is going to yield and then I'll be able to give you a guide on nitrogen rates." Now, clearly it is impossible to know the exact yield you are going to achieve at this stage so a definitive answer will always be hard but even so, I believe all milling wheat growers should fully understand the impact yield has on the nitrogen requirement for their crops.

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Minimising nitrogen losses in your fertiliser programme

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Last year, I wrote a blog on how to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) to improve your farm efficiency rating and part of this looked at the impact of nitrogen losses.Following on from this DEFRA recently announced a non-regulatory approach which outlines how to reduce ammonia emissions from any urea-based fertilisers.

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Frontrunner - 29th April 2022

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There are new contract highs for 2022 European new crop wheat futures this week, as markets continue to react to the longer-term threats to Black Sea wheat supplies - particularly those from Ukraine. The London November 2022 contract passed £300/t for the first time and the old crop May 2022 contract set a new record with a high of £332.20/t.

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 - 22nd April 2022

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European wheat futures started the post-easter bank holiday weekend with strong gains, with both the Paris and London new crop markets setting new contract highs in early trade following stronger US wheat markets. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures were higher on the latest crop condition report and the overall situation is worse than trade expectations. Winter wheat slipped two points to just 30% good/excellent, this compares to 53% last year and trade expectations at 33%. The crop condition index has only been worse in one of the past 35 years at this stage of development.

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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Frontrunner - 14th April 2022

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New crop European wheat futures rallied further this week and set new contract highs, reflecting trade concerns around the prospect of a long-term conflict between Ukraine and Russia. London November 2022 wheat futures briefly touched £295/t, almost double its initial trades and the contract low made in September 2020.

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 - 8th April 2022

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Grain markets have continued to see volatile trading and early in the week US wheat futures rallied following the first 2022 national crop condition and progress report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Winter wheat crops are in a particularly poor condition, with ratings as bad as they have ever been at this time of year, with the exception of the 1996 crop. Crops have suffered from prolonged dry conditions, expanding drought and storms in December.

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 - 1st April 2022

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Wheat markets continue to experience notable price volatility in response to developments in the conflict in Ukraine. US wheat futures fell sharply on Tuesday to their lower trading limit and to their lowest level since 1st March. This is in response to encouraging comments made in peace talks being held in Istanbul.

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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Frontrunner - 25th March 2022

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Global wheat markets experienced another week of notable price volatility in the wake of the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict. European wheat futures struck new contract highs due to increasing fears that there will be no short-term end to the conflict and that there will be significant cuts to Ukrainian 2022 grain production.

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 - 18th March 2022

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Wheat futures continued to see volatile trading this week as the trade reacted to the impact of the worsening conflict between Russia and Ukraine. There were early notable falls in prices with reports that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine were making some headway and that all five of Russia's Black Sea ports were operating normally for grain shipments.

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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Frontrunner - 11th March 2022

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The escalating conflict following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent fears for future wheat supplies from the Black Sea led to extreme volatility in the wheat market this week, resulting in new record highs for futures markets. Wheat futures rose to their highest on record this week, with Paris futures exceeding €400/t and London futures rising above £300/t, breaking the previous record set in 2008.

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 - 4th March 2022

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Wheat markets have been extremely volatile this week due to the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine. London old crop wheat futures hit a high, which was more than £50/t above last week's closing prices, and in doing so set a record high for the market. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures climbed up by over 30% to their highest figure for 14 years, although remained below the all-time highest figure of $13.49/t which was set in February 2008.

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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Frontrunner - 25th February 2022

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week triggered unparalleled price movements in commodity markets. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures posted gains of almost 20% on last Friday's close and, at their peak, were at their highest level since 2008. Fear, panic and speculative trade exaggerated futures price gains but the world's wheat importers have lost access to a primary supplier of wheat and corn as military action brought a halt to commercial shipping and Ukraine's ports shut down. Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) held a tender to buy wheat on Thursday which highlighted the market chaos and uncertainty. There was only one offer from French exporters at a price including freight just below $450/t.

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 - 18th February 2022

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World wheat markets have seen less volatile trading than they have over the past three to four weeks, but prices continue to be underpinned by the worsening situation in Ukraine. US President Biden said on Thursday that there was now every indication that Russia was planning to invade Ukraine in the next few days. Should this be the case, it seems likely there would be interruptions to wheat exports from the Black Sea region, which is a serious concern considering that Russia, Ukraine and Romania continue to dominate international tenders.

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 - 11th February 2022

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The threat of conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to generate price volatility in world wheat markets. The week started with an optimistic view from traders that a diplomatic solution to the tensions could be found following a seemingly successful meeting between French president Emmanuel Macron and Russian president Vladimir Putin. This triggered a bout of selling on futures markets on Tuesday.

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 - 4th February 2022

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Following last week's notable volatility, wheat markets started this week making sharp loses and struggled to find any form of recovery. The threat of conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains and, should this be realised, wheat futures prices would rally again. Speculative longs have, however, been encouraged by progress with diplomatic solutions, with many having subsequently taken the exit, bringing futures prices down in the process.

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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Use your grain sampling data to plan the next cropping year

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To be frank, a sample bag of grain doesn't really tend to excite many of us. Why would it? It's just a sample, it's minute in comparison to the hard graft that's come before it. But then – if we really think about it – doesn't that make it quite a significant thing?

That bag of grain represents at least a year of hard work; significant investments, the challenges you've overcome and the opportunities you've taken. When you consider the efforts that have gone into creating that bag of grain you realise that, if we are to be completely honest, it all comes down to that bag. The fact is that it isn't just grain in there. It's information, data, learnings, it's proof of things that worked well and sometimes things that didn't.

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