Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 29th January 2021

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Early this week, world wheat futures markets continued to be pressured by speculative long holder selling. Losses extending from the contract highs reached last week have resulted in futures markets losing almost all the price gains they had made since the start of January. Losses for London wheat futures were almost £15/t. However, further political intervention that will disrupt grain flows partnered with soaring Chinese import demand helped generate a rally from the lows. This highlighted how market price volatility may be expected to continue.

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 Cath.

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How will variable rate nitrogen affect my sulphur applications?

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It's one of the first questions we face from growers when discussing variable rate nitrogen (VRN) and it's understandable given sulphur is one of the major nutrients required by plants. If optimum amounts aren't available, it will have a direct impact on end yield.

As it happens, in nearly all of these conversations our recommendation to growers is to apply sulphur variably alongside their nitrogen in order to achieve optimum yields and quality. Of course, as with all nutritional decisions, some forward planning is required.

With this in mind, we're going to address some common questions to help you plan for the spring and ensure you get the maximum benefits from variably applying sulphur.

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Timing, species and methods: Considerations if you're destroying your cover crop

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How we design and manage profitable, efficient crop rotations can be influenced by the use and management of available cover crop positions within them. When incorporated well, they can lead to the introduction of wider sustainable crop establishment systems, having the potential to gradually reduce some crop inputs and the overall cost of crop establishment.

If you have a good cover crop that has been successfully absorbing available nutrients, improving soil structure and supporting soil biota, you may be wondering what to do. First and foremost, careful thought and consideration is required when planning your next move. 

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Frontrunner - 22nd January 2021

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US wheat futures peaked last Friday, ending the 30% price rally that began last August. Futures markets had become technically overbought and were due a correction. US markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday but Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures subsequently posted four consecutive days of losses. London wheat futures peaked on Monday, setting a contract high price that hasn't been seen since January 2013 before following US markets lower during the week.

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

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Frontrunner - 15th January 2021

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Few World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) reports from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) trigger a market reaction such as the reaction triggered by the report released earlier this week. A report with such futures volatility following a period of prolonged market price gains hasn't been seen since 2012/13.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 8th January 2021

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World grain markets have started the new year with sharp gains, led higher by US soybean and corn futures. Prolonged dry weather and a rainfall deficit for developing corn and soybean crops across both Argentina and Brazil are raising concerns that yields will be adversely affected amidst strengthening export demand, particularly from China. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn and wheat futures rallied to highs this week not seen since 2014 as speculative funds continued to buy and established record-long positions. Price gains for corn futures have reached 50% since the summer.

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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'Farming is changing': The end of the BPS era

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With 2021 now underway, we are officially at the beginning of the end of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) era. The transition to the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme has started, and we're sure that many of you are wondering what this move is going to entail.

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Frontrunner - 18th December 2020

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Russia, the world's leading wheat exporter, officially confirmed it would introduce a €25/t export tax in the new year. The tax will be applied to its 17.5-million-tonne export quota, which begins on the 15th February and runs to the 30th June 2021. Traders are unlikely to exceed the quota in light of the news that tonnage which surpasses this figure will be taxed at 50% of the sales value.

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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Optimising nitrogen inputs: measuring residual N with satellite imagery

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I'll admit that at first sight filling your tractor with oil and planning your nitrogen applications don't appear to have much in common but in one simple way they are very similar. Before you do both, you need to know how much you've already got in the tank or in the soil, so you know exactly how much more you need to put in.

When it comes to nitrogen applications, rates should only be decided once you have fully assessed the requirements of your crops. As well as thinking about inputs, this also means making an informed judgement on how much nitrogen will be supplied by your soils.

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Frontrunner - 11th December 2020

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World wheat markets posted sharp gains this week, recovering much of the losses they had made since the end of last month. The primary driver for these positive moves was news that Russia may introduce additional measures to control wheat exports. Russia has previously established a quota of 17.5 million tonnes to limit wheat exports between February and June 2021, but so far this has proved to have little impact on its domestic market prices.

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 Cath.

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Frontrunner - 4th December 2020

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US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures continued to fall this week and by close of business on Thursday were 10% below the 4-year highs they peaked at in October. The increasing size of the Australian, Canadian and Indian wheat crops as well as a proposed increase in Russian export quota combine to signal ample wheat supplies and a bearish feel to markets.

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

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How we supported this year's gold medal YEN winner, Tim Lamyman

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This week we were delighted to hear that one of our customers, Tim Lamyman, has scooped both a silver and gold medal in this year's Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition. Congratulations, Tim!

The 2019/20 cropping season was one that none of us will forget in a hurry, with one of the wettest autumns and winters in recent history. This was followed in quick succession by a drought and low levels of incoming solar radiation during the key grain filling period. 

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Frontrunner - 27th November 2020

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In a trading week that was shorter than usual due to Thanksgiving, there has been little fresh wheat news. Instead, markets have been buoyed by China's continued purchasing of US corn. With another 200,000 tonnes purchased last week, the market continues to predict China's overall demand. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated it will reach 7.2 million tonnes while other private analysts are estimating that China will tender up to 30 million tones of US corn.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 20th November 2020

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World wheat markets stalled this week with a lack of any fresh bullish features to drive them higher again. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures drifted as their winter wheat crop rating made modest improvements following recent rains. 46% of the crop is rated 'good' to 'excellent' and is up one point on the week. This is still well behind this time last year when 52% of the crop received this rating.

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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Using grain protein to plan your nitrogen rates

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The nitrogen inputs to your crops can be one of the most important factors that influence crop output and, ultimately, the profitability of your business. There is a wealth of tools and information to help guide you when it comes to applying the optimum rate of nitrogen, but how do you know if you are actually getting it right and making the best use of these applications to maximise your financial return?

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Frontrunner - 13th November 2020

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World wheat markets rallied this week following the publication of the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday afternoon. There were few changes to the world wheat estimates from last month's report.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 6th November 2020

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Earlier this week, wheat markets eased lower following concerns that the increasing impact of Covid-19 will lead to cuts in global demand for grains, particularly from the fuel sector. Wheat price gains made in the second half of October were all but lost. However, on Thursday, the US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean market jumped to $11 per bushel, a four-year high, which pulled world wheat prices higher with it.

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

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Frontrunner - 30th October 2020

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World wheat markets have made impressive gains in price since harvest, highlighted by US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures which, by the end of last week, had gained over 25% in value. This is impressive as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates a record world wheat crop of 733 million tonnes - up nine million tonnes on last year. Furthermore, USDA estimates see stocks rising by 22 million tonnes on the year to 321 million tonnes.

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 Cath.

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Frontrunner - 23rd October 2020

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Earlier this week the world's futures markets continued to rise, extending their bull run that began back in August. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures were close to a six-year high whilst Paris and London wheat futures each set new contract highs. Prolonged dry weather has been an increasing concern for wheat crops in Argentina, the US and Russia, and has latterly been the primary price driver. Each of these countries has received some rain, which is a benefit for some regions but mostly deemed insufficient, particularly for Russia where the forecast remains dry.

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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Supporting your farmland birds this winter

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With increasingly erratic weather patterns - this year being no exception - one thing that remains constant is the lack of food availability for farmland birds over the course of the winter and early spring months.  

When out on farm, we are often shown some really excellent wild bird seed mix plots which provide a mass of food for our seed-eating birds, but no matter how much care and attention is given to these plots, birds will invariably run out of seed by January. This is where supplementary winter feeding comes in...

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