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Frontrunner - 25th August 2023

Many UK farmers crossed the finish line this week, bringing a welcome end to one of the most challenging harvests for over a decade. Continued periods of rain delayed combining – a complete contrast to last year's harvest where prolonged dryness allowed for the earliest and quickest harvest since 1976.

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 August 2023

Late last Friday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), but despite a reduction in year-end stocks for both world wheat and corn, the absence of any surprising bullish data left futures reacting negatively. World wheat production is now seen at three million tonnes lower than it was in the previous month at 793.37 million tonnes.

Unfortunately there is no Frontrunner podcast this week but it will return as normal from next Friday. 

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Frontrunner - 11th August 2023

The week started with a sharp rally for wheat futures prices following a weekend of military action between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine seaborne drone attacks on Russian commercial shipping, including a tanker near the Crimean, caused renewed wheat supply fears. Russia is currently shipping between 3.5 to 4.5 million tonnes of wheat each month, with approximately 70% of this total coming from its Black Sea ports. Any tangible disruption to sea freight will have a positive impact on prices, especially if importers are forced to seek supplies from alternative sources such as the EU or the US.

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 Whiteman. 

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Frontrunner - 4th August 2023

Wheat futures prices continued to fall this week, dampening any signs of trade activity much like the UK weather is doing for harvest progress. Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Black Sea wheat supply, US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures fell again on Thursday for the seventh consecutive trading day. This wiped out all the gains made since 17th July when Russia withdrew from the Black Sea export corridor deal with Ukraine. Russia has continued to launch drone strikes on the Ukrainian Black Sea Port of Odesa and River Danube grain loading terminals, Reni and Izmail.

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 - 28th July 2023

This week, US wheat futures markets rallied to briefly touch their highest level since late February this year in what has been a notably volatile period of trade. On Monday, aggressive fund short covering took prices to their daily trading limit of 60 cents up - the equivalent of a 9% price gain. The primary trigger for the gains was the Russian military attacks on Ukrainian grain loading terminals on the River Danube. This river has proven an effective export route for Ukraine wheat and other grains since the Russian invasion in February last year.

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 - 21st July 2023

Events unfolding because of the Russia/Ukraine conflict have once again had a major impact on world wheat prices this week. Following months of threats, Russia chose to halt its engagement with the UN-brokered Black Sea wheat export deal on Monday, which previously allowed vessels to safely collect wheat and other grains from selected Ukraine Black Sea ports. Since its inception a year ago, the deal has seen almost 33 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds shipped around the world, helping to supply some of the poorest nations.

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 - 14th July 2023

This week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. It added weight and area to both US wheat and corn crops. The increasing supply of these crops triggered a wave of selling and futures prices went back down to early June levels.

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 Whiteman. 

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Frontrunner - 7th July 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) struck a bearish blow to global grain markets late last Friday, announcing a shock increase in the 2023-24 US corn planted and harvested area. This came following an increasingly optimistic view on yield potential for the crop, with the recent arrival of widespread rain across the US corn belt following a sustained spell of dryness. The USDA now estimates that US farmers have planted 94.1 million acres of corn - up two million tonnes on its previous estimate - and that they will be able to harvest 86.3 million acres, which is up 9% on last year. This, combined with its estimated yield, would see the US corn crop at 10 million tonnes higher than the estimate made in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report published in June, which was set at 387.75 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 executive, Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 30th June 2023

The week started with news that the Wagner Group's attempted coup against the Russian government had failed. In addition, Sterling has weakened against the Euro over the past week while it has strengthened against the US dollar.

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

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Frontrunner - 23rd June 2023

From early 2023, speculative funds had built near record short positions in agriculture futures markets. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat market alone received over 120,000 contracts which is the equivalent of over 16 million tonnes. This process helped wheat prices decrease to multi-month lows at the end of May, but the current month has seen a price recovery.

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 Whiteman. 

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Frontrunner - 16th June 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published revisions to its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report late last Friday afternoon. There was a notable jump in its world wheat production estimate, which it now sees rising to over 800 million tonnes. This is 10.4 million tonnes up on last month and 12 million tonnes up on last year. It came as a surprise to many that the USDA did not cut production estimates for areas where adverse weather may reduce output potential. For example, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) recently cut its country's production potential by a third on last year's figure to 26.2 million tonnes due to the expected negative impact on yields from the El Nino weather.

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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  1360 Hits

Frontrunner - 9th June 2023

The world's wheat futures fell to new multi-month lows last week, with London wheat dropping to its lowest value since mid-January 2022. However, a combination of weather-related factors and concerns for the security of supplies from the Black Sea helped deliver five consecutive days of positive closing prices and an overall gain of around 9% from this 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, Lucinda Redgate.

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  1160 Hits

Frontrunner - 2nd June 2023

For most of this week wheat values have remained on the defensive with London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE), Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and Marche A Terme International de France (MATIF) all falling to their lowest point in over a year. Without much bullish news traders continued to add to their short positions after the small bounce in prices last week.

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 Whiteman. 

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  1387 Hits

Frontrunner - 26th May 2023

World wheat markets continued to fall this week, following Russia's agreement to extend the Black Sea export corridor deal until the 17th July. Prospects of a continued flow of Ukrainian wheat have kept speculative sellers active. Encouraging data for improved crop potential in both the US and EU added to the market negativity. US winter wheat condition gained two points to 31% now rated 'good/excellent' and US corn planting reached 81% completion - up 16 points on the week, which is six points ahead of the five-year average.

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 Whiteman.

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Have you carried out a nutritional review?

'Versatility' has become 'the norm' for many people across the globe following the many and varied extreme events of the past four years. More specifically within UK agriculture, there have been the challenging unseasonable weather patterns during autumn and spring. These have affected growers' annual cropping plans, key agronomic timings and fertiliser applications.

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Frontrunner - 19th May 2023

Late last Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its first look at the world's 2023-24 grain balance sheets, with a contrasting outlook for wheat and corn. World wheat production is seen rising by 1.5 million tonnes up to 789.76 million tonnes, but year-end stocks will fall by two million tonnes down to 264.34 million tonnes – this will be the lowest for seven years.

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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  1265 Hits

Urea stewardship scheme - everything you need to know

DEFRA's consultation on reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers closed in January 2021, but it wasn't until April of this year that the outcomes were clarified. 

Now that we can consider all the details, I've outlined some Q&As to offer more context to the new regulation and what it aims to cover.

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Frontrunner - 12th May 2023

Last week's wheat price gains were quickly lost this week as the weight of old crop stocks, demand concerns and improving 2023 production prospects motivated selling interest. Despite uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the Black Sea export corridor deal and increased hostility from Russia towards Ukraine, eastern EU states are heavy with previously imported Ukrainian supplies.

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

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  1294 Hits

Frontrunner - 5th May 2023

World wheat futures dropped again this week, extending their 2023 losing streak. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) figures dropped to their lowest since December 2020 and London old crop futures struck a new contract low which was almost half the peak price it achieved during May last year.

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 Whiteman. 

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  1437 Hits

Frontrunner - 28th April 2023

This week, Canada's national statistical office, Statistics Canada (StatsCan), published its first look at 2023 Canadian crop potential and farmer planting intentions. Canadian farmers are set to increase their wheat area by around 6% on last year, to 27 million acres. If realised, this would be the largest drilled area since 2001. This potential boost to global supplies exceeded trade expectations and added to the market price negativity.

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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  1468 Hits

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