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Maximise crop production with home-grown and manufactured nutrition

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There are good reasons to introduce home-grown nutrients into your nutrition plan. For one, if enough nutrient can be grown and captured, there is potential to increase business margins. However, the two benefits of most interest are: the degree of protection it can offer from a volatile fertiliser market and the potential to reduce carbon emissions on farm through a reduction in applied fertiliser.

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Frontrunner - 18th November 2022

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This week, wheat markets continued to fall and have seen further losses in value – over £30/t since the beginning of the month.

The primary bearish price driver has been the hope that Russia would extend the grain export corridor agreement in the Black Sea. On Thursday, the UN Secretary-General confirmed the deal would be extended for 120 days.

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 - 11th November 2022

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European prices have steadily declined to levels last seen in mid-September as a push of cheap exports from key producers has occurred. Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) and Algeria have tendered for Dec/Jan wheat shipments with Russia leading the supply race by pricing significantly below competing origins. Continuation of Russia's wheat export pace (3.5 million tonnes per month) will hinge on the integrity of the grain corridor deal, which is currently the focus of the market.

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 - 4th November 2022

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Benchmark global wheat prices lifted 6% on Monday in a knee-jerk reaction to news from the weekend that Putin was withdrawing from the safe Black Sea corridor agreement. Consequently, insurers refused to grant fresh cover for vessels that were returning to Ukraine which caused concern for the 22 boats anchored in Ukrainian ports waiting to be loaded - a further 101 are awaiting inspection. London futures rallied from £12 to a high of £293, which ignited UK farmers to market large volumes at prices not seen for a month.

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 - 28th October 2022

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Markets slipped lower this week but further problems for Southern Hemisphere wheat production helped generate a mild recovery on Thursday. In southeastern Australia, persistent rain and consequential flooding across thousands of acres of arable land is damaging yield and quality. At this stage it is uncertain what impact this will have on total Australian wheat production. Recent estimates are at 34 million tonnes which would be the country's second ever highest crop after last year's record of 36.3 million tonnes.

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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Grassweed control into winter

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Following my blog about early grassweed control in August, at this time of year we're now moving towards the final application which is aimed at 'finishing off' the job by using propyzamide.

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Frontrunner - 21st October 2022

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The possibility that the Black Sea export corridor agreement will be renewed has influenced markets this week. However, whether this renewal will be realised remains in question. President Putin has reportedly commented that a recent attack on the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to Crimea, was a result of weapons that were smuggled via the corridor and therefore he is unsure whether a renewal of the agreement is in the best interests of Russia.

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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Autumn weed control in oilseed rape with companion crops

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In August, I wrote a blog about how to control grassweeds in oilseed rape ahead of establishing the crop. Now that we're further into the season with crops in the ground, it's a good time to revisit your weed control strategy and determine what actions are needed. In this blog I'll discuss the benefits and considerations around companion crops and how they fit into weed control.

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Supporting farmland birds this winter with supplementary feeding

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Supplementary feeding provides a vital lifeline for farmland birds in late winter and early spring on arable and mixed farms. It supplements crops of wild bird seed mix with additional seed such as cereal, oilseed and specialised grains like sunflowers, canary seed and millets. No matter how well wild bird seed plots are managed, they will inevitably run out of seed during late winter (December to April), a period known as the 'hungry gap'. Supplementary feeding plugs the hungry gap and enables farmland birds to enter the breeding season in a strong position.

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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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How to manage early drilled wheat crops this season


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If you've drilled your wheat crop early this year, you may be wondering how to mitigate the challenges that tend to become apparent at this time of the season. Grassweeds, barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) and the crop's general nutrition are important to keep on top of when managing your crop.

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Frontrunner - 7th October 2022

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Late last Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final 2022 US wheat production estimate and surprised markets by cutting over 130 million bushels from its September estimate, which was in line with average trade expectations. The USDA sees the crop down to 1,650 million bushels; the equivalent of 44.9 million tonnes. This reduction in the US wheat production estimate coupled with lower-than-expected corn and wheat stocks in the US (as of 1st September) saw futures prices make sharp gains. The rally continued into the beginning of this 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, Lucinda Redgate.

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Frontrunner - 30th September 2022


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World wheat markets continued to rise this week, driven higher by heightened tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Threats to the longevity of the safe Black Sea export corridor amidst the increasingly aggressive rhetoric from the Kremlin has encouraged further short covering and speculative buying of wheat futures. Over 210 vessels carrying agricultural produce have now left Ukrainian Black Sea ports since the UN-brokered deal was signed with Russia, but there is increasing doubt the deal will extend beyond the expiry of the initial agreement in November.

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 - 23rd September 2022

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London wheat futures rallied to their highest point since the 11thJuly this week as a result of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. President Putin said he was mobilising 300,000 additional reserves and announced other activity that has concerned markets. The comments from Putin saw Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures rise by over 7% as the shorts covered their positions fearing disruption to essential Ukrainian agricultural produce exports.

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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How can we bridge the forage gap?


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"When one door closes, another opens" - a statement we know all too well in farming. With harvest drawing to a close, efforts are now turning to sowing for the season ahead. It is great to see heaps piled high of dry grain, however, the extreme temperatures and lack of moisture have meant that livestock feed sources have struggled. On my travels around the country visiting farmers, it is clear to see how much damage has been done.

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Frontrunner - 16th September 2022

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its September updates to the World Agricultural Supply and Demands Estimates (WASDE) report on Monday afternoon, which helped wheat futures prices rally to a two-month high mid-week. However, lower corn production estimates currently provide the main price driver for wheat.

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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Data-based drilling – How can data support continued gains in crop performance?

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Much has already been said about the weather that we've experienced in recent months and even with some rain predicted, it is likely to be a challenging drilling season for many. For me, the weather highlights the importance of being able to understand your soils and use that information to make changes to your strategy. Whether it is the creation of the best seedbed in difficult circumstances, or the adjustment of your seed rates to attempt to counteract the conditions, often even small changes can make a big difference.

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Frontrunner - 2nd September 2022

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Wheat futures moved sharply higher earlier this week, although prices remained in the trading range that has prevailed for the past two months. Traders reacted to lower corn production estimates for both the US and EU, the result of prolonged dry and hot weather conditions that have proved damaging for yield potential.

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 - 26th August 2022

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Wheat prices moved higher early in the week in response to strong gains in US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures, which rose to a two-month high. Corn futures rose in reaction to disappointing results from the Pro Farmer Crop Tour as it progressed through the main corn-producing states. Iowa is the world's number one corn producer, yet yields from Western Iowa were reported at 181.12 bu/ac, which has fallen from 183.96 bu/ac last year and is lower than the three-year average of 183.47 bu/ac.

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

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Getting control of weeds in oilseed rape

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Oilseed rape weed management has evolved over the last 10 years, mainly due to the challenge of establishing the crop with certainty and the introduction of more effective post-emergence broad-leaved weed herbicides. Before this development in chemistry there was a lack of flexibility - crops had to be treated early and all that was left was to hope for the best.

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