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Frontrunner - 8th September 2023

Russia continues to dominate world wheat export trade whilst the US and EU fall further behind, leaving falling prices. Leading analysts revised estimates and put the Russian wheat crop between 91 and 92 million tonnes, with exports for the season between 48.5 and 49.5 million tonnes. 20% or more of that export target has already been achieved during the first two months of the season, with 9.7 million tonnes reportedly shipped by the end of August at record pace.

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 - 1st September 2023

With the Russian wheat harvest progressing further than expected, yields are leading more analysts to revise their crop estimates for Russia - the world's leading wheat exporter.

Total production is now seen ranging between 91 and 92 million tonnes, therefore creating potential for a higher record export target of 49.5 million tonnes. The first two months got off to a racing start, with estimates of 9.5 million tonnes shipped during July and August. However, the government has since imposed an official floor price for new wheat tenders and this may result in a slowing of the current pace. 

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 - 25th August 2023

Many UK farmers crossed the finish line this week, bringing a welcome end to one of the most challenging harvests for over a decade. Continued periods of rain delayed combining – a complete contrast to last year's harvest where prolonged dryness allowed for the earliest and quickest harvest since 1976.

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 August 2023

Late last Friday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), but despite a reduction in year-end stocks for both world wheat and corn, the absence of any surprising bullish data left futures reacting negatively. World wheat production is now seen at three million tonnes lower than it was in the previous month at 793.37 million tonnes.

Unfortunately there is no Frontrunner podcast this week but it will return as normal from next Friday. 

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Minimise the impact of CSFB by getting oilseed rape off to the best start

Despite recent challenges, oilseed rape (OSR) remains a profitable break crop which can also aid grassweed control in your rotation. Of course, success is dependent on good establishment, which in turn relies on strong attention to detail.

Although recent weather patterns may have presented some difficulties for other combinable crops during the harvest period, there is a silver lining in that the increased soil moisture will aid seedbed preparation and drilling. 

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Frontrunner - 11th August 2023

The week started with a sharp rally for wheat futures prices following a weekend of military action between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine seaborne drone attacks on Russian commercial shipping, including a tanker near the Crimean, caused renewed wheat supply fears. Russia is currently shipping between 3.5 to 4.5 million tonnes of wheat each month, with approximately 70% of this total coming from its Black Sea ports. Any tangible disruption to sea freight will have a positive impact on prices, especially if importers are forced to seek supplies from alternative sources such as the EU or the US.

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 - 4th August 2023

Wheat futures prices continued to fall this week, dampening any signs of trade activity much like the UK weather is doing for harvest progress. Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Black Sea wheat supply, US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures fell again on Thursday for the seventh consecutive trading day. This wiped out all the gains made since 17th July when Russia withdrew from the Black Sea export corridor deal with Ukraine. Russia has continued to launch drone strikes on the Ukrainian Black Sea Port of Odesa and River Danube grain loading terminals, Reni and Izmail.

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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The importance of grain store management

This year we've seen an elevated amount of storage challenges across the industry, a problem faced by both farmers and professional stores alike.

The extreme weather conditions last harvest meant that most crops went into stores without needing to be dried, with some farmers combining crops at night in a bid to avoid the intense heat and elevate moisture content.

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Frontrunner - 28th July 2023

This week, US wheat futures markets rallied to briefly touch their highest level since late February this year in what has been a notably volatile period of trade. On Monday, aggressive fund short covering took prices to their daily trading limit of 60 cents up - the equivalent of a 9% price gain. The primary trigger for the gains was the Russian military attacks on Ukrainian grain loading terminals on the River Danube. This river has proven an effective export route for Ukraine wheat and other grains since the Russian invasion in February last year.

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 - 21st July 2023

Events unfolding because of the Russia/Ukraine conflict have once again had a major impact on world wheat prices this week. Following months of threats, Russia chose to halt its engagement with the UN-brokered Black Sea wheat export deal on Monday, which previously allowed vessels to safely collect wheat and other grains from selected Ukraine Black Sea ports. Since its inception a year ago, the deal has seen almost 33 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds shipped around the world, helping to supply some of the poorest nations.

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 - 14th July 2023

This week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. It added weight and area to both US wheat and corn crops. The increasing supply of these crops triggered a wave of selling and futures prices went back down to early June levels.

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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Pre-harvest crop management: desiccation methods

As harvest gets closer, attention is no doubt turning to pre-harvest management of crops. In particular, desiccation using glyphosate is one of the key considerations at this time. Some of you may have already completed desiccation on certain crops but for those who are yet to start, there are considerations to bear in mind.

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Frontrunner - 7th July 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) struck a bearish blow to global grain markets late last Friday, announcing a shock increase in the 2023-24 US corn planted and harvested area. This came following an increasingly optimistic view on yield potential for the crop, with the recent arrival of widespread rain across the US corn belt following a sustained spell of dryness. The USDA now estimates that US farmers have planted 94.1 million acres of corn - up two million tonnes on its previous estimate - and that they will be able to harvest 86.3 million acres, which is up 9% on last year. This, combined with its estimated yield, would see the US corn crop at 10 million tonnes higher than the estimate made in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report published in June, which was set at 387.75 million tonnes.

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

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Grass and forage - where quality really counts

Choosing a grass reseeding mix can be tricky. Even so, the phrase "No, surely its simple" is one I often hear, as well as assumptions that "one field of green is the same as the next." However, with the quality and diversity of work carried out by plant breeders over the last 70 years or so, each field really is different in terms of output.

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Bare land – do you know what to do with yours?

There's no doubt that the start of the 2023 growing season was challenging across the country, with the wettest March in 40 years being followed by the wettest start to April in the last five. As we headed into May, ambient temperatures were still slow to rise, so I think many would agree that conditions were less than ideal this spring.

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Frontrunner - 30th June 2023

The week started with news that the Wagner Group's attempted coup against the Russian government had failed. In addition, Sterling has weakened against the Euro over the past week while it has strengthened against the US dollar.

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

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Frontrunner - 23rd June 2023

From early 2023, speculative funds had built near record short positions in agriculture futures markets. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat market alone received over 120,000 contracts which is the equivalent of over 16 million tonnes. This process helped wheat prices decrease to multi-month lows at the end of May, but the current month has seen a price recovery.

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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Management of sugar beet to optimise yield

This season the spring weather has aided the establishment of good sugar beet plant populations, which is very positive for final yields. However, the average planting date was much later than we've experienced for many years. Importantly, crops have good potential but their management may need some adjustment from now until harvest to achieve optimum yields.

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Frontrunner - 16th June 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published revisions to its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report late last Friday afternoon. There was a notable jump in its world wheat production estimate, which it now sees rising to over 800 million tonnes. This is 10.4 million tonnes up on last month and 12 million tonnes up on last year. It came as a surprise to many that the USDA did not cut production estimates for areas where adverse weather may reduce output potential. For example, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) recently cut its country's production potential by a third on last year's figure to 26.2 million tonnes due to the expected negative impact on yields from the El Nino weather.

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 - 9th June 2023

The world's wheat futures fell to new multi-month lows last week, with London wheat dropping to its lowest value since mid-January 2022. However, a combination of weather-related factors and concerns for the security of supplies from the Black Sea helped deliver five consecutive days of positive closing prices and an overall gain of around 9% from this low.

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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