Frontrunner - 4th February 2022

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Following last week's notable volatility, wheat markets started this week making sharp loses and struggled to find any form of recovery. The threat of conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains and, should this be realised, wheat futures prices would rally again. Speculative longs have, however, been encouraged by progress with diplomatic solutions, with many having subsequently taken the exit, bringing futures prices down in the process.

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 Powell.

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Use your grain sampling data to plan the next cropping year

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To be frank, a sample bag of grain doesn't really tend to excite many of us. Why would it? It's just a sample, it's minute in comparison to the hard graft that's come before it. But then – if we really think about it – doesn't that make it quite a significant thing?

That bag of grain represents at least a year of hard work; significant investments, the challenges you've overcome and the opportunities you've taken. When you consider the efforts that have gone into creating that bag of grain you realise that, if we are to be completely honest, it all comes down to that bag. The fact is that it isn't just grain in there. It's information, data, learnings, it's proof of things that worked well and sometimes things that didn't.

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Frontrunner - 28th January 2022

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The world's wheat markets have seen significant price volatility this week. Fuelled by news reports of increased tension between Russia and the Ukraine, short covering and speculative buying extended gains on Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures by 6% by the close of Tuesday and took the market to its highest level since the end of November last year.

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 January 2022

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World wheat markets rallied sharply this week, reacting to mainstream media reports of increasing tension between Russia and the Ukraine. This was highlighted by Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures which gained over 7% and, in doing so, recaptured all the losses they had made so far in 2022.

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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The Environmental Land Management scheme - What does the latest update tell us?

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It's well understood that the turn of a new year often brings with it some updated farm policy. Evolving requirements, subsidy scheme adaptations and legislation are certainly nothing new.

This is the case again for 2022, only the changes ahead are some of the biggest our industry has seen. It's no understatement when we say there's a been a lot for farmers (and advisors) to digest in recent months and there are still some new policy elements to be clarified. 

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Enhancing farm efficiency with variable rate nitrogen – What do the latest trials results tell us?

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The start of a new year is often when most of us traditionally think back to what has happened over the past 12 months before looking ahead at those to come.

Before Christmas, we published this news release announcing some exciting digital investments that have upgraded our variable rate nitrogen service for 2022. One of the most significant developments is the adoption of radar technology, meaning users can now access cloud-free imagery.

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Undersowing maize – A demonstration event

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Maize is an important crop on many farms across the country, from east to west and increasingly north to south. For those growing it, however, there are some issues which can arise from bare maize stubbles left over winter and it's important to mitigate them. If left, the land can become vulnerable to surface water runoff, soil erosion and nitrate leaching.

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Frontrunner - 14th January 2022

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World wheat prices have fallen again this week, which was highlighted by London wheat futures. Thisextended losses to the lowest level since the middle of last October. Paris wheat futures have led the way down with increasing concerns that the EU export pace is falling behind where it needs to be to meet export estimates.

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 - 7th January 2022

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Wheat markets made an uncertain start to 2022 but after some early small gains, trade futures prices posted some notable losses. This week, Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat prices fell to their lowest since mid-October and were followed by the Paris and London futures markets. Strong price support had been expected to continue to come from the world's major wheat importers – including Egypt, China and Algeria - as it had done throughout December. However, such support was found lacking this 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, Sophie Powell.

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Making the Sustainable Farming Incentive work for your farm: Crop production and environmental management don’t need to be competitive

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At the beginning of December the government released further detail on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and how the widescale roll-out to all growers will work in 2022.

Before we look further into the options available to growers later in the blog, it is worth emphasising from the start that the SFI offers a real opportunity for growers to align and unify their crop production goals with their environmental goals. We know that crop and food production are central to farm decision-making but, given what we've seen of the SFI so far, it appears it will be easier to farm in a way that offers environmental benefits while supporting sustainable crop production systems - and receive financial support for doing so.

So, what do we know about the Sustainable Farming Incentive?

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Frontrunner - 17th December 2021

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Wheat futures markets fell heavily mid-week, losing almost 4% of their value. A number of changing elements led to this long liquidation resulting in the loss of all the gains made last month and the new record high prices. The fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19 presents a host of uncertainties but will almost certainly result in lower demand as the hospitality trade once again has to manage lost business. However, there are changing fundamentals that point towards a more relaxed world wheat balance sheet with an increased supply from some of the world's major wheat exporters.

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 - 10th December 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report on Thursday, presenting a bearish set of wheat data. World production is seen 2.61 million tonnes higher than last month at 777.89 million tonnes. Overall, wheat supplies are seen up 4.3 million tonnes with increased carry in from last season. Production volumes reflect recent official revised estimates which have seen many increases since figures were previously released.

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 - 3rd December 2021

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Wheat markets have endured a volatile week of trading, as traders and speculators reacted to the uncertainty of the latest Covid-19 variant Omicron and what it might bring. Having peaked at nine-year highs last week, Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures lost over 10% of their value by close of business on Tuesday. This was due to a wave of panic selling, which caused prices to tumble. European wheat futures made similar losses from their record highs last week.

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 - 26th November 2021

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European wheat futures rallied further this week, striking new record-high levels as bullish drivers continue to influence markets. Adverse wet weather across east and southeast Australia has proved damaging for wheat crops with reports of sprouted grains and quality wheat consigned to the feed bin. The world's major milling wheat importers were hoping that the arrival of a predicted bumper crop in Australia would ease the tight supply of quality wheat and cap record prices but that may no longer be the case.

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 Powell.

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Frontrunner - 19th November 2021

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European wheat futures struck new record highs in volatile trading this week. Markets continued to rise, reacting to further notable purchases from some of the world's major wheat importers while being mindful of the likelihood of further export restrictions for Russia, the world's primary wheat exporter. Algeria weighed in with a chunky purchase, thought to be up to 800,000 tonnes, having to pay up to $384/t including freight for shipment mid-December to the end of January.

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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The important role of supplementary feeding

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As a nation, I think it's fair to say we are all interested in the well-being of our wildlife, particularly those species which can often be at risk. While looking at some of the more recent bird count results published by the RSPB and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), it's clear to see that conservation efforts in the UK are starting to pay back and produce a slow but positive increase in our songbird populations. But the work is far from over.

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Value of nitrogen: the importance of well-informed decisions

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The word 'unprecedented' very accurately describes what has happened in the fertiliser world this year but even that doesn't seem enough to convey the exceptional rise in price and shortage of supply. In 25 years, I haven't seen anything like these price levels; to be honest I don't think I expected to see them in my working life and I still have a...
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Frontrunner - 12th November 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its November World Agricultural Supply and Demands Estimate (WASDE) report early this week, bringing an end to a short spell of declining prices. A revised estimate for world wheat stocks was released, which was below average trade estimates. The USDA cut world wheat stocks from 277.18 million tonnes to 275.80 million tonnes. This revision changed the negative market sentiment. The profit-taking that was seen from the middle of last week reverted to bullish enthusiasm.

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 - 5th November 2021

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Wheat markets have continued to go from strength to strength. Future markets have moved sharply higher, with price gains of over 25% since early September. This rise has been driven by wheat production losses for major exporters Canada, US and Russia and by a loss of French quality amidst strengthening demand.

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

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Maize: Season review and post-harvest soil management with cover crops

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Maize is a high-value crop with a number of uses and so it is not surprising to see that the planted area is increasing year on year. With harvest now complete, it's a good opportunity to think about the learnings from this season as well as any steps you can take to reduce overwinter soil erosion and nutrient loss following removal of the crop.

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