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Frontrunner - 4th July 2024

June saw a significant decline in wheat prices. Futures prices had peaked at the end of May due to concerns over Russian wheat production for 2024. As these fears eased and prospects for other major wheat producers improved, managed money traders sold heavily.

Consequently, US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures lost 25% of their value. On the last day of June, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported increased wheat and corn stocks compared to the previous year - corn planting is ahead of last year, adding to the bearish sentiment.

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 June 2024

This week, Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) ended Tuesday 14 cents down, posting its fifth consecutive lower close.

Upbeat US crop condition weighed on the US market, despite a wealth of international trade activity. European markets maintained their value as France proved successful in capturing market share in international trade.

US winter wheat condition improved by one point, increasing to 49% of the area rated 'good/excellent' which is still notably ahead of last year's 36%. 83% is headed which is up on the average 78%. The US wheat harvest is underway with 6% complete, double the pace this time last year and the average.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by agronomist, Alex Pope.

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Frontrunner - 2nd May 2024

Last week, speculative fund short covering took UK wheat futures to their highest levels in 2024 so far. Prolonged dryness and temperatures in the high 20s across much of southern Russia and east Ukraine were the primary price drivers.

However, cooler temperatures and rain over the weekend means buyers have taken a step back and sellers are keen to take advantage of these attractive prices – this has taken markets lower again.

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 April 2024

Last week's United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report brought minimal shifts in the global wheat landscape. While world wheat production saw a slight increase to 787.36 million tonnes and consumption rose marginally to 800.1 million tonnes, end stocks dipped to 258.27 million tonnes. Notably, the adjustments made for India hint at a potentially bullish scenario for world wheat markets.

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 - 21st March 2024

Speculative fund short covering has driven wheat futures higher in recent days, led primarily by gains in the Paris market. The May 2024 contract breached €200/t on Tuesday which was the market's highest level since 27th February 2024.

The funds had built record short positions in the Paris wheat market but improved physical wheat demand, Black Sea supply concerns and EU political moves have been the catalysts to trigger a need to reduce the exposure to potentially higher prices.

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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Could maize be the answer for your 2024 rotation?

Throughout 2023, the weather played its part for many maize growers. Adverse conditions made the task of growing a successful crop interesting to say the least.

Maize sowing was delayed in many areas due to a very wet March and April. It was then followed by drought conditions into June where the heat set maize on its way to record harvest yields. July arrived and so did the rain - just in time for cereal harvest! It almost feels like it hasn't stopped raining since.

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The Recommended List: New wheat varieties will broaden options for 2024

Five new varieties of winter wheat have been added to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Recommended List for 2024. These new arrivals offer valuable alternatives for planting next autumn and bring some much-needed diversity to the feed wheat sector, breathing fresh life into the tired looking Group 1 bread-making and Group 3 biscuit markets.

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Frontrunner - 20th January 2023

Russia's military activity in Ukraine have had a significant influence on wheat prices over the past 11 months. Last May, wheat futures soared to record high levels as the Russian invasion of Ukraine halted Black Sea exports from one of the world's primary wheat exporters. The subsequent arrival of a record Russian wheat crop - now put above 104 million tonnes - has resulted in notable wheat exports, increasing their market share in world markets. This has contributed to wheat futures prices falling back to levels not seen before the conflict.

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 - 14th October 2022

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Wheat futures prices surged to a three-month high on Monday. Speculators and trade shorts raced for cover due to the Russian missile strikes on civilian targets in many cities across Ukraine, fearful of an escalation of the conflict and an interruption to exports from the Black Sea. However, markets subsequently eased lower as shipments continued. Comments in the media that Russia may cancel an export quota also triggered selling, although with a record 150 million tonne grain crop - 100 million tonnes of which is wheat – this hardly suggests any restriction for exports is necessary.

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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Environmental Land Management blog series: 1/ We answer your questions about the scheme

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While the industry appears to have well and truly embarked on the transition into a 'new era' now, a level of uncertainty remains around the new funding opportunities and ongoing changes to agri-environment schemes.

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The value of pod sealants for oilseed rape

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The economics of growing oilseed rape have fundamentally changed over the last few years. Throughout this period, we have seen its value move from approximately £320/t in harvest 2020, to £440/t in 2021, to the heights of 2022 of £900/t. Currently, this has come back to £550/t for harvest. The crop has never been so valuable.

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Navigate grain market volatility with price and trading tools in MyFarm

The current volatility of global markets and commodity prices is well documented; in recent weeks, there have been price swings that have never been experienced before. While it makes for some interesting market behaviours, knowing when to react in terms of buying and selling can be a challenge, particularly when prices are changing in a matter of minutes.

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Market report - 4th June 2020

Cooler, wetter weather in the UK has brought some welcome relief to crops which, as a result, has brought out a few sellers. However, the UK will still need to import substantial quantities of rapeseed into the UK next season.

For 2019, rapeseed markets were mainly supply driven but, since the Covid-19 crisis, we've seen the collapse in demand for mineral oils and rapeseed oil as a result of the lockdowns imposed on industries that would ordinarily need these products. Typically, in the EU, 60% of the demand for rapeseed oil goes into biofuels, with the rest into the food service industry.

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Market report - 13th May 2020

Weather in the Northern Hemisphere continues to underpin grain prices, particularly ongoing dryness in some of Europe's key wheat-producing regions. Much of Northern Europe, the Baltics and Southern Russia have seen very little rainfall with the latter receiving just 5-20mm this week, so crops are continually being stressed. Consultancy, SovEcon, said on Friday that despite some recent rain, the extended drought period left irreversible damage to some crops which will result in lower output.

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Market report - 30th April 2020

World consumption of oils is forecast to decrease by up to 500,000 tonnes compared to that seen in 2019, due to less biodiesel and food demand.

In the UK, vegetable oil demand remains weak due to the reduced requirements from restaurants and the wider food industry. With lockdown and social distancing guidelines still in place, it is not known when this demand may pick up or return back to 'normal' levels, although it is thought to run through until the second half of 2020 at least.
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Market report - 5th February 2020

Following losses of 4% during the last third of January, around £2 per tonne has been added to world wheat prices since the market closed on Friday.

There is little fresh news to influence prices but wheat exports from the EU and Ukraine continue to move at a strong pace. EU exports climbed to 16.4 million tonnes by the 2nd February, compared to just 9.9 million tonnes at the same time last year. Despite strike action hindering logistics, French ports shipped their biggest volume of wheat for six years during January. 

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Market report - 22nd January 2020

US, French and London wheat futures markets have all continued to rally this week, reaching highs not seen for almost a year and a half.

Following the signing of the 'phase one' trade deal last week, the US market is firmer as a result of expectations for export trade to China. Support there also comes from their export pace which is running 15% ahead of last year.

French wheat futures are higher on strong EU export demand which, at 15.7 million tonnes so far this season, is running 71% ahead of last year. The strike action that is crippling French export facilities is also creating a technical rise in French wheat futures as shorts try to buy back their positions in the nearby contract.

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Market report - 11th December 2019

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published their latest report on Tuesday. It had little effect on the soybean market as US stocks remained unchanged from the previous month's report. While global stocks were increased slightly, it wasn't enough to create any significant market movements.

In Europe this week, rapeseed prices traded at €399.75 which is the highest level since 2017. Analyst, Stratégie Grains, forecast the French 2020 crop to be 18.46 million tonnes.

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Spring crop switch? Seeking information now will increase options

We've experienced a quite extraordinary start to the cropping year and as I look at news reports showing land under water I can only imagine the extent of the challenges being faced by some farmers. By now, in England, most would have hoped to finish drilling never mind not even started in some cases.

Understandably and economically getting a winter cereal crop is still the goal right up to February, depending on the variety, for those who can. However, for some that ship has already sailed and a new 'Plan B' will be the reality. For many, even those not so dramatically affected, some change of cropped area is underway with a shift towards spring crops inevitable. 

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Frontrunner - 8th November 2019

Concern over new crop wheat planting has driven prices this week. With an estimated winter wheat planted area of just 50%, compared to 95% this time last year, new crop wheat values moved up £7/mt.

Old crop wheat values have followed the new crop as farm selling remains light and domestic consumers still need plenty of cover for the balance of the crop year. 

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