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Midweek market report - 24th April 2019

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While many of us enjoyed the Easter weekend weather, both winter and spring crops were looking very thirsty as the British Isles broke temperature records. However, with rain now in the forecast and the weather pattern changing both here and in much of Western Europe, wheat futures markets started the working week with a bump lower. Concerns that t...
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Turning Countryside Stewardship negatives into positives

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The Kings team has delivered a series of grower workshops across a number of regions in recent weeks to provide support and insight on a wide range of land-based topics. These included getting the best from Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), guidance on simplified offers from Natural England, and how best to integrate stewardship and sporting interests...
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Surprise Easter weather increases risk of losses on liquid fertiliser

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The rise in temperatures forecast this weekend beckons the prospect of one of the warmest Easters on record. While many people's thoughts will turn to firing up the barbecue or joining a queue of traffic heading for the nearest beach, arable farmers will earmark the time to get out and on with spring land work. Generally dry conditions have allowed...
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Frontrunner - 18th April 2019

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WHEAT Rising Russian wheat crop estimates weigh on markets 2019 harvest wheat crop prospects for one of the world's most influential producers are improving according to the latest publications seen from analysts this week. Favourable autumn conditions and a kind winter coupled with uninterrupted spring drilling have seen the wheat area increase by...
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Frontrunner - 12th April 2019

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WHEAT USDA publish a bearish report The USDA published their April World Supply and Demand report on Tuesday afternoon and, as expected, it held bearish data – particularly for corn. World corn production jumped six million tonnes, with increases seen for most of the major producers. Argentina, Brazil and Mexico were up, reflecting the favourable g...
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Mid-week market report - 10th April 2019

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The USDA published their April World Supply and Demand report yesterday and, as expected, it held bearish data – particularly for corn. World wheat production was put marginally lower at 732.87 million tonnes but falls in consumption saw year end stocks increase by five million to 275.61 million tonnes. This is just six million tonnes down on the y...
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Frontrunner - 5th April 2019

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WHEAT UK markets look to new crop A week is a long time in politics and it seems even longer in the grain trade with old crop markets fading again this week. Remaining markets are focused on sourcing final July cover; the last stop for consumers before significantly cheaper new crop supplies are available. Attention is now turning to new crop for c...
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Mid-week market report - 3rd April 2019

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The UK market continues to be in a state of confusion regarding our wheat crop size, and Brexit. As we enter the final quarter of the cropping year, there is no clarity on the UK wheat crop size. Estimates vary, from DEFRA projecting an area equating to a 13.95 million tonne crop, to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) survey suggesting a 100,000 hectar...
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Variable rate drilling payback

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When it comes to drilling your next crop, do you consider the evenness of establishment in previous years and the consistency of your return on investment for each field? The inherent variability in soil type in most fields makes variable rate seed drilling a sensible option and the potential for strong payback via yield gain means that adopting th...
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Frontrunner - 29th March 2019

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WHEAT UK wheat prices flatten Domestically, futures and delivered markets remain thin with a large portion of the old-crop market still to play out. Northern feed wheat premiums remain elevated to encourage the trade-flow of grains from further south but, in the main, consumers remain subdued with a 'hand-to-mouth' approach to buying. This said, lo...
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Make the most of your ‘natural capital’

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'Natural capital' is a relatively new phrase within UK agriculture. We spoke about it as part of our presentations at this year's 3D Thinking seminars and it sparked a real interest amongst growers. As we explored the phrase's definition and what it meant for farmers, our audience soon recognised the importance of 'boarding the agri-environment bus...
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Mid-week market report - 27th March 2019

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Global markets are increasingly focused on weather patterns and the size of the US fund short for fresh direction. Widespread flooding and below average temperatures in the US plains and Midwest remains a flag for growing crops, while warmer forecasted weather could compound the problem as snow-melt will add to ground moisture levels. Conversely, s...
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Frontrunner - 22nd March 2019

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WHEAT Spring is the season of risk Market support has held in wheat markets since the lows of the previous week. Speculators have large bearish positions laid on in grains for crops that are still very exposed to adverse planting and growing conditions as dormancy breaks. The strength of rebound in wheat futures has been largely led by corn as mark...
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The Variable Rate Seed myth

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We introduced variable rate seed over 15 years ago and the benefits, including that of a yield increase of 4.2% over flat rate drilling, are well documented . However, every now and then I come across individuals who think that doing variable rate seed avoids the need for variable rate applications of nitrogen. This is a myth. Where did the myth co...
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Frontrunner - 15th March 2019

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WHEAT Turbulent wheat markets The world's wheat markets started the week extending their recent downward trend. Speculative fund selling took the US CBOT wheat futures to contract lows on Monday, pulling European and UK wheat futures lower too. Their motivation comes from slow US wheat export pace and expectations for a bounce back in production fo...
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Managing lodging risk in cereals this spring

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Lodging is described by Berry, 1998 as "The permanent displacement of plant stems from the vertical" which "occurs on average once every four years in UK wheat crops, when it reduces the yield and bread-making quality of grain." Fischer and Stapper, 1987 also report that "Lodging can reduce yields from 7 – 35%, with the greatest yield reductions oc...
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Variable crops will require a considered PGR approach this season

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​ Yet again a season has seemingly come at us with a fresh set of challenges. Personally, I don't think I've ever seen a 'normal' year and averages cover a lot of variability. However, we do have a challenge with this season's oilseed rape (OSR) crops and working out what to do. Autumn and winter have been both unseasonably dry and unseasonably war...
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Mid-week market report - 13th March 2019

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World wheat markets continued to move lower at the beginning of the week, extending the trend we have seen since the beginning of 2019. Speculative funds took their short positions to over 120,000 contracts in US wheat futures markets, leaving them technically very oversold and due a bounce. The funds seem driven by the poor US wheat export pace an...
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Monitoring grain markets 24/7 made possible with new technology

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​Most of the farmers I know keep a watchful eye on commodity prices and use a variety of methods to do so. The method chosen is down to personal choice; it could be speaking to a farm trader, scrolling through Twitter or checking online via the farming press. Making that proactive choice to check; 'Has the grain market gone up, down or even remaine...
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The impact of flea beetle larvae

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​ As if the adult population of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) wasn't problematic enough last autumn when large areas of oilseed rape were written off, crops are now struggling again as they come out of winter. CSFB larvae are present in high numbers on both heavily grazed crops and even those which appeared to grow away from the pest last year. I...
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