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Frontrunner - 2nd June 2023

For most of this week wheat values have remained on the defensive with London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE), Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and Marche A Terme International de France (MATIF) all falling to their lowest point in over a year. Without much bullish news traders continued to add to their short positions after the small bounce in prices last 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, Sophie Whiteman. 

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Frontrunner - 26th May 2023

World wheat markets continued to fall this week, following Russia's agreement to extend the Black Sea export corridor deal until the 17th July. Prospects of a continued flow of Ukrainian wheat have kept speculative sellers active. Encouraging data for improved crop potential in both the US and EU added to the market negativity. US winter wheat condition gained two points to 31% now rated 'good/excellent' and US corn planting reached 81% completion - up 16 points on the week, which is six points ahead of the five-year average.

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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Have you carried out a nutritional review?

'Versatility' has become 'the norm' for many people across the globe following the many and varied extreme events of the past four years. More specifically within UK agriculture, there have been the challenging unseasonable weather patterns during autumn and spring. These have affected growers' annual cropping plans, key agronomic timings and fertiliser applications.

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Frontrunner - 19th May 2023

Late last Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its first look at the world's 2023-24 grain balance sheets, with a contrasting outlook for wheat and corn. World wheat production is seen rising by 1.5 million tonnes up to 789.76 million tonnes, but year-end stocks will fall by two million tonnes down to 264.34 million tonnes – this will be the lowest for seven years.

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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Sustainability in Practice: Farming for a better future

In this blog - originally published as an article in the April issue of Crop Production Magazine as part of its 'Sustainability in Practice' series with Frontier - our sustainability experts Jim Stotzka, Sarah Burgess and Fiona Tweedie look at what's driving more sustainable farming systems, including how sustainability is being interpreted in new government policy and across food supply chains.

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Urea stewardship scheme - everything you need to know

DEFRA's consultation on reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers closed in January 2021, but it wasn't until April of this year that the outcomes were clarified. 

Now that we can consider all the details, I've outlined some Q&As to offer more context to the new regulation and what it aims to cover.

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Frontrunner - 12th May 2023

Last week's wheat price gains were quickly lost this week as the weight of old crop stocks, demand concerns and improving 2023 production prospects motivated selling interest. Despite uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the Black Sea export corridor deal and increased hostility from Russia towards Ukraine, eastern EU states are heavy with previously imported Ukrainian supplies.

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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Future Scottish agricultural policy: new opportunities with tier 2 funding

In my last blog I covered how the overall structure of government payments is set to look going forward, but given there's more detail outlined within the framework, in this blog I'm taking a closer look at the opportunities that could be available under tier 2. If delivered well, it could offer the greatest opportunity to not only gain additional funding, but also make positive changes to farming systems as a whole.

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Frontrunner - 5th May 2023

World wheat futures dropped again this week, extending their 2023 losing streak. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) figures dropped to their lowest since December 2020 and London old crop futures struck a new contract low which was almost half the peak price it achieved during May 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, Sophie Whiteman. 

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Frontrunner - 28th April 2023

This week, Canada's national statistical office, Statistics Canada (StatsCan), published its first look at 2023 Canadian crop potential and farmer planting intentions. Canadian farmers are set to increase their wheat area by around 6% on last year, to 27 million acres. If realised, this would be the largest drilled area since 2001. This potential boost to global supplies exceeded trade expectations and added to the market price negativity.

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 April 2023

Wheat futures markets rose sharply earlier this week, with traders concerned over the flow of grain from the Black Sea. Prices increased by around 6%, with Russia casting doubt on its renewal of the Ukraine Black Sea export deal next month. Subject to the terms of the deal, vessels entering or exiting the Ukrainian Black Sea must be inspected. However, Russia has blocked inspections as vessels passed through Turkish waters for a second day, which has prompted Ukraine to say that the export deal is at danger of collapse. Russia warned that prospects of an extension to the deal will be low once its previous 60-day extension ends in the middle of May unless certain criteria are met in respect to Western sanctions. 

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 importance of T0 applications this season

February may have been dryer and milder than average, but excessive rainfall in March has not only caused a backlog of fieldwork but also increased disease pressure.

The subsequent delay to the application of T0s presents questions about how they should be approached given the conditions. Today, there are increasing reports of Septoria showing itself on the lower leaves in the crop canopy and this will have inevitably splashed up the crop in the rain over the recent weeks, with the risk even greater in denser, high-biomass crops. Early nitrogen applications in February will also stimulate early growth which, if not addressed at T0 with a plant growth regulator (PGR) application, could lead to increased lodging risk.
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Frontrunner - 14th April 2023

This week, London wheat futures fell to their lowest since the beginning of 2022. Lower-than-expected use in both the animal feed and bioethanol sectors has created a heavy domestic balance sheet. This, combined with scarce export opportunity, has put pressure on prices and led to a notable discount on new crop.

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 - 6th April 2023

London wheat futures fell lower again this week, with old crop prices falling close to multi-month lows, the lowest since the 22nd of March. Selling was encouraged by lower world markets and what is likely to be a significant UK carry over stock from this season into next.

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 future of Scottish agriculture payments

In Scotland, many of us have been watching the developments in government policy and funding south of the border with interest, wondering when we may begin to see similar progress. Our patience was rewarded three weeks ago when the Scottish Government released its much anticipated Agricultural Reform Route Map which outlined how farmers would receive financial support from the Government going forward.

So, what do we now know and how might it affect you and your business?

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Frontrunner - 31st March 2023

Wheat futures markets continued to rally until mid-week, making impressive gains from last week's multi-month lows. The London wheat market added £19/t which encouraged further farmer selling, but with limited interest in physical wheat buying, domestic prices subsequently dropped again towards the end of the week.

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

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Frontrunner - 24th March 2023

Last weekend the Black Sea export corridor deal was renewed. Despite demands from Ukraine for a minimum extension of 120 days, all parties ultimately agreed to Russia's proposal of a maximum of 60 days. Russia said an extension of the deal beyond mid-May will depend on the removal of some western sanctions.

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 - 17th March 2023

Wheat markets have endured a volatile week's trading with focus on the talks between representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the UN as they discussed the renewal of the Black Sea export deal.

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 - 10th March 2023

World wheat futures markets continued to fall this week and have now lost 14% of their value since the end of 2022. The primary drivers for the market negativity are twofold. Firstly, the ongoing competition from cheap Russian wheat exports following Russia's record 2022 wheat crop; and secondly, a strong belief the Ukraine Black Sea export deal with Russia and the UN will renew at the end of next week. If this is the case, Ukraine will continue to ship cheaply offered wheat, corn and other grains on world markets. This makes it likely the US, the EU and other major exporters will be left with burdensome year end stocks.

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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Maize – what to think about for 2023

I think we'd all agree last year was a challenging one, with the lowest amount of rainfall ever recorded since records began. When we look at the results from last season's maize harvest, it's important to understand the notable weather patterns we saw and the effects they had.

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