ADM Agriculture Ltd
Viewpoint Inside this edition of Viewpoint Market outlook Pages 2 and 3
ADM Agriculture’s trading team weighs up the underlying factors that are influencing the key commodity markets and assesses prospects for the next few months.
However Brexit is eventually solved, UK agriculture’s role in supplying safe, reliable, high quality produce will remain.
When you think you’ve seen everything… In nearly 35 years as a grain trader, one has seen a fair bit along the way. Intervention, co-responsibility levy; sterling crashing out of the ERM; the advent of the euro; UK wheat exports to Australia, Thailand and the Philippines; the 2012 harvest; and the knockon effects of the EU referendum in 2016 have all featured as significant events. However, I am not sure during this time that anyone has seen anything as potentially seismic as what may, or indeed may not, have occurred during the month of October 2019. As this goes to press, it appears as if an extension beyond Halloween, perhaps as far as January 2020, has been agreed in order to finalise a Withdrawal Agreement. That said, given the context of the prospect of a possible general election the situation may remain fluid. We are faced with simply not knowing which rules of trade will apply post October 31st. As a consequence, trade beyond this date has never even started, let alone stopped. The ramifications are serious for the UK grain trade, and that of course includes UK cereal producers, and will determine the destination of our exportable
surplus after this year’s large cereal harvest and, to an extent, the price at which this surplus will be sold. Added to this situation is the passage of the Agriculture Bill through Parliament. This seeks to make radical changes to the way UK farmers are subsidised but, in the event of a general election sometime before Christmas, may never see the light of day again. ADM’s purpose statement, ‘to unlock the power of nature to enrich the quality of life’, fits very comfortably as part of the farming and crop production sector’s role in the supply of safe, reliable, quality produce, that is essential for the health and well-being of the nation. We should take heart that this indispensable requirement is not going to disappear after October 31st, however our politicians decide to solve the Brexit puzzle. At ADM, we will continue to monitor events very closely and we are confident that the EU and UK will find a good solution. We are also well prepared for whatever scenario will eventually emerge.
David Sheppard, joint managing director
Coming your way – BYDV-resistant wheat Pages 4 and 5
ADM Agriculture customers could soon have access to an elite winter wheat variety with resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus, thanks to a major breakthrough in European wheat development.
Seed and fertiliser reports Pages 6 and 7
Spring cropping prospects, including pulses and spring barley, come under the spotlight; plus how the fertiliser sector is helping to keep UK farming competitive whilst addressing environmental concerns.
Field to flour Page 8
The ADM Field to Flour Growers Club brings the best UK wheat growers together to supply one of the world’s largest food processors, helping to drive improvement into the supply chain.
Market Outlook Autumn 2019
Whilst burdensome soybean stocks, ongoing trade disputes and reduced demand from China due to African swine fever have provided a bearish backdrop, the main story for UK rapeseed has been the significant reduction of sustainable, non-GM produce for the European crusher. Reductions in plantings and poor weather had already seen EU production estimates fall to multi-year lows, but as harvest progressed poor yield reports caused crop forecasts to fall further to about 17mln t. In recent seasons, rape oil’s premium over other vegetable oils had already seen EU crushing decline. However, this season demand from EU crushers is still expected to exceed 23mln t, resulting in an import requirement of around 5.5mln t.
been one of plentiful supply,
combines started rolling in the north, the
The 2019 UK oat harvest has due to an 8% increase in
planted area compared with
Harvest started early in the south but, as weather began to worsen.
2018 as well as improved
Although yields seemed to hold up, quality did
There could be more than
As usual, good premiums are available for
double the human and industrial usage of about
74 kg/hl specific weight.
yields and quality.
1.2mln t available this harvest year, almost
530,000t. This weighty surplus has not been
helped by the UK’s lack of clarity on the export
not in later-harvested crops.
milling wheat, with minimum 11% protein and Milling oats are attracting a good premium over
situation beyond October 31st, and is likely
feed and should see good demand throughout
to keep prices around current levels for the
the year, although the pre-Christmas position is
remainder of the season.
Looking towards harvest 2020, the big question
Malting barley is proving hard to place as
futures-related contracts available and a second
crop. Some good quality barley may have to be
will be over the spring acreage figure. With fewer year of poorer quality, will we see the spring acreage decrease?
Jeremy Pope, trader – oats and milling wheat
oversupply is giving maltsters their pick of the moved as feed.
Feed beans are up against other proteins, but should still find a home, albeit at a distance in some cases.
Feed wheat crops are proving hard to place,
despite prices being up to £50/t lower than last year, as mills are struggling for orders and are reluctant to buy without an outlet.
Tony Kenny, trader – organics
Whilst Ukrainian supplies increased by around 0.5mln t this year, these will be quickly exhausted. All eyes are now on the developing Australian crop, which has also been reduced due to dry weather. Availability from Canada has increased due to that country’s significant ending stocks, but the capacity for EU crushers to utilise this source of supply is limited. The bullish supply situation in Europe should support rapeseed prices in the new year as imports dry up. Given that the UK balance sheet is also very tight, strengthening sterling looks to be the only thing to prevent the domestic market tracking EU values higher. Will Ringrose, trader – oilseeds
The 2019 pea harvest produced good yields and quality. Prices have drifted lower as a result and there is little reason for prices to rally from here. Bean yields far surpassed those of 2018, up 80% year on year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about quality. Bruchid beetle damage is evident in most samples and remains the primary reason for rejection for human consumption, followed by staining, in winter beans. Fortunately, our main competitors in the Baltic states have had a poorer harvest than expected. However, increasing competition from origins such as Germany and remaining old crop stocks in North Africa are quashing demand for UK human consumption beans in the short term. With a large exportable surplus of feed and the UK facing a potential import duty to the EU, prices of feed beans will probably have to fall to find demand either domestically or on the export market. Lewis Cottey, trader – pulses and IP maize
Another harvest has been safely gathered in and the market is now digesting how to best meet the needs of the end consumer, domestically and overseas, given the variable quality of this year’s crop. Meanwhile, the size of next year’s harvest remains in doubt as wet weather delays winter cereal plantings and flea beetle reduces the oilseed rape area. ADM’s global reach, combined with local assets, has created a business in the UK that is well placed to understand the market and provide credible solutions throughout the supply chain. Integral to ADM Agriculture are its people and their relationships with trading partners. Our company will continue to provide market-leading solutions as the UK agri-food sector goes through one of its biggest challenges as the UK leaves the EU and puts in place a new agriculture policy. Jonathan Lane, head of grain trading
Feed Wheat Global wheat markets have consolidated from the lows witnessed in September, supported by delayed harvests of Canadian and US spring wheat crops, lessthan-favourable weather in the southern hemisphere and uncertainty over final production of US corn and soybean crops due to late planting and crop development.
despite reluctance by farmers to sell, while the Ukrainian grain trade requested the government increase this year’s wheat export quota, due to another bumper harvest.
European prices have followed the global price trend, supported by a brisk start to the 2019-20 export program following a flurry of international tenders. Wheat exports from the EU are running just over 30% ahead year on year, underpinning cash levels, although domestic industrial and feed demand remains at threat from price-competitive barley and imported maize.
As the prolonged harvest ended, and with growers seemingly more interested in fieldwork than marketing, ex-farm prices have been supported by that additional export demand, although domestic premiums continue to erode. With the UK wheat crop being confirmed in excess of 16mln t, any delay in Brexit that allows the UK to continue current EU trading terms would be welcome to shift the burdensome surplus.
Black Sea exports continue to pressure EU values. Russian wheat is being aggressively offered
In the UK, the recent market dip to a new contract low coupled with a decline in the value of sterling resulted in decent volumes of export trade. However, with the future still unclear regarding Brexit, little trade has been concluded past October 31st.
David Woodland, trader – statistics and economics
Malting Barley It’s been one of those rare
years for EU malting barley where all major producing
contracted malting barley has and will have to move for feed.
countries have had an
Until recently, the UK trade has had to sit back
coinciding with a bearish
export market (the main tool for selling and
above-average malting crop,
and watch prices drop, unable to sell into the
world feed market.
hedging pre-harvest) due to the uncertainty
Here in the UK, for the first time in at least five
maltsters will continue to buy as many tonnes as
years, the larger-than-average spring malting barley area has produced big yields and good
create one of our biggest UK surpluses.
currently no export market, growers would again
As of early October the UK still had a surplus of
possibly only a few weeks to do so. Much non-
However, yields were very good and, despite the delayed wet harvest, quality has been better than expected. Northern areas certainly suffered with low Hagbergs, creating a clear north/south divide. Milling wheat pass rates hitting the less exacting 12.5/74/200 spec are down, with Group 1 achieving 59% (63% last year) and Group 2 achieving 19% (19% last year). Overall, production is virtually identical to last season at 2.5mln tonnes and could result in another tight milling wheat balance sheet. However, assuming the 12/74/200 spec is widely adopted, then we would have a 350,000t surplus. Premium direction is dependent on how much of this lower spec milling wheat is used. Midland and northern growers can currently lock into £15-20/t premiums, good compared with previous years. In the south, direction depends on milling wheat exports as demand has been affected by the closure of the mill in Southampton. James Forster, trader – northern milling wheat
they can, reducing next harvest’s requirements. With the potential for another big malting
up to 500,000t of malting barley to export, with
The 2019-20 milling wheat market entered harvest with the potential for a tighter balance sheet than last year due to reduced areas of Group 1 and Group 2 varieties, down 5% and 29% respectively. Harvest weather was catchy, with famers suffering from intermittent showers, which raised concerns about potential quality issues.
around Brexit. With low prices and good quality,
quality at the same time. No doubt the increase
in new, agronomically better varieties has helped
area, a further increase in newer varieties and be advised to put their barley on contract for
Stuart Shand, head of malting barley and projects
BYDV resistant wheat – a commercial reality The introduction of an elite winter wheat variety with resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus will offer farmers an alternative to chemical control for the first time.
Twenty years ago, researchers at Plant Breeding International Cambridge started work on incorporating BYDV resistance into UK wheat germplasm, and one source, now identified as Bdv2 originating from a distant relative of wheat, Thinopyrum intermedium, proved the most interesting.
However, due to the absence of modern molecular marker technology and effective screening methods, the introduction of the trait into truly competitive germplasm for the UK market proved technically very challenging. Work continued, but at a fundamental experimental level because it was perceived there was little demand for the trait at the time, not least because insecticide seed treatments offered cheap and reliable control. We knew the trait was viable from that early work, along with other research carried out at a similar time by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). That work did succeed in the commercialisation of BYDV-resistant wheat, one of the very few breeding programmes in the world to have done so to this day. CSIRO did this by translocating a genetic segment from Thinopyrum containing the resistance gene Bdv2 onto a wheat chromosome, via a research line known as TC14.
A few years after RAGT bought PBIC, our wheat breeder, Célia Bequain and her team, in collaboration with pathologists and molecular marker specialists within RAGT, recommenced work on introducing Bvd2 into commercially acceptable material. The rapid development of marker systems and other technology that identify sequences of DNA code in the intervening years greatly simplified the
Late-season BYDV symptoms
A major breakthrough
selection of key traits in breeding programmes, such as BYDV resistance.
The introduction of RGT Wolverine
This, together with excellent teamwork crossing several specialisms, helped us push ahead and incorporate the trait into elite material.
in European winter wheat
Of course, we had no idea at the time that neonicotinoid seed treatments would soon be banned. But, as a company, we aim to deliver varieties not just with improved yield and quality but also better resistances that take account of environmental and other farming issues, including the withdrawal of useful chemistry.
marks a major breakthrough
development, writes RAGT’s cereal and OSR product manager Tom Dummett
RGT Wolverine is capable of delivering exceptional yields and growers will not be penalised for choosing it in the absence of BYDV.
Eight years ago the team came close to delivering a commercial variety containing the Bvd2 gene. However, it was not quite good enough in other areas which led to a further round of breeding, which produced the cross in 2013 that became RGT Wolverine, Europe’s first BYDV - resistant wheat.
The variety, which is aimed at the Group 4 hard sector, has been put forward for RL Candidate selection this autumn. Farmers will be able to try RGT Wolverine in autumn 2020 following RAGT’s decision to fast-track seed production.
This new wheat has a very good agronomic package, including a strong disease resistance profile. Translocations can bring with them undesirable traits, but there are no signs of that with RGT Wolverine.
In the three years before National List entry the cross performed very well. It was in the bracket of our best feed wheats, so we had succeeded in getting the trait into top-performing material. Two years in NL trials against competitor material have confirmed that success. With its competitiveness becoming apparent, we continued testing RGT Wolverine’s performance against BYDV, and the results speak for themselves (see right). RAGT is the first breeder in Europe to offer a BYDV-resistant wheat. The timing is particularly opportune, following the withdrawal in 2018 of neonicotinoid seed treatments for wheat.
Farmers purchasing RGT Wolverine will pay £33/ha for season-long protection while reducing the need to monitor aphid populations and benefiting the environment. That compares favourably with a typical three- to four-spray programme that offers six to eight weeks of low to average control.
It is interesting to note that the two CSIRO varieties, Manning and Mackellar, introduced 16 years ago, have maintained significantly higher yields compared with BYDV-susceptible varieties when BYDV pressure is high, outperforming all other varieties in this situation.
Richard Summers, head of cereal breeding and research, RAGT Seeds Grain aphids are important vectors of BYDV
Reaping the benefits of a genetic innovation
ADM Agriculture Ltd works very closely across all species with plant breeder RAGT.
Field trials confirmed the effectiveness of the Bdv2 gene
RAGT is the first breeder in Europe to offer a BYDV-resistant wheat
Trials confirm stand-out BYDV resistance
The effectiveness of the Bdv2 resistance trait in RGT Wolverine has been clearly
demonstrated in a range of laboratory and field experiments carried out by RAGT. In the laboratory, RGT Wolverine was compared against a widely grown, fully recommended UK variety as a control. In addition, two of RAGTâ€™s French lines were tested to provide additional confirmation, one with the Bdv2 trait and one without. When plants reached the second-leaf stage, BYDV-infected aphids were transferred to each plant. After 42 days of incubation, leaf tissue samples were sent for ELISA testing to detect virus presence.
The resistant lines consistently showed a lower
level of virus compared with the susceptible ones. Subsequent field trials at Cambridge, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire mirrored the ELISA tests and
confirmed the effectiveness of the Bdv2 gene. Three BYDV strains were also confirmed at all
three sites by ELISA tests (PAV, MAV and RPV),
suggesting the resistance is also broad spectrum.
Over the past century RAGT has evolved from a regional co-operative in southern
To see such a significant breeding trait come forward in such a short space of time, following the loss of the seed treatments that used to give us strength in the armoury against the threat of BYDV, is fantastic news for the agricultural industry, particularly when that trait is available for our largest cereal crop. In a climate where the loss of armoury seems to have become the norm, it is great to see this trait realised by traditional plant breeding techniques. It is a true success story for the whole farming sector. We are really looking forward to being able to offer this to our farmer customers for autumn 2020 sowing, subject to seed availability, and seeing the commercial growth of the first variety, RGT Wolverine, and subsequent material to follow on behind. With so much potential, we look forward to seeing these genetics available across the range of varieties in the nabim groupings, and in combination with other traits such as OWBM resistance. Chris Guest, head of seed, ADM Agriculture
*RGT Wolverine is not yet national listed and this does not constitute an offer for sale.
France to Europeâ€™s leading plant breeder, responsible for a range of major varieties such as Skyfall, RGT Gravity, RGT Planet and RGT Windozz. Founded in 1919 and established in all major European agricultural regions, RAGT Seeds researches, produces and sells seeds including wheat, barley, oilseed rape, oats, forage grass and soil health crops. Innovation is vital to the company. It spends more than 18% of turnover on research, supporting 17 research stations, 300,000 experimental plots, and four multi-species laboratories.
Close ties with seeds merchants are vital to get new varieties into the market place. ADM is a key partner for RAGT, having been instrumental in assessing and informing its customers about the attributes of several important varieties in recent years and assisting with end user tests early in the development of RAGT breadmaking varieties. RAGT Seeds is headquartered in Rodez, France, its UK affiliate is based at Ickleton, Essex.
The Seed Report Chris Guest, head of seed
Other crops in brief Spring barley
Those looking at spring barley shouldnâ€™t veer too far away from the two dual-purpose varieties, LG Diablo and Laureate. Laureate, bred by Syngenta, currently has the largest market share in this sector. Also well worth considering is the brewing-only variety RGT Planet, bred by RAGT, which has taken large shares in key markets across the world. There are some new and interesting varieties coming through the system. However, as always, we would suggest growing these varieties with a corresponding buyback contract.
Head of seed Chris Guest
assesses cropping choices
and prospects for next spring. Given the current inclement weather at the time of writing in early October, many heavy land areas may start to become inaccessible for autumn cropping. This will affect growers who delayed sowings to improve blackgrass control and to counter the increased BYDV risk following the loss of the neonicotinoid seed treatment Redigo Deter. This may lead to increased thoughts of spring cropping, although confusion caused by Brexit means the marketability of certain commodities is uncertain. This could lead to potentially large surpluses looking for a home in a market that may face some element of tariff or barrier to trade. Pulses remain a viable option for many growers. Peas particularly may find favour due to the reduced acreage of winter OSR and issues surrounding winter and spring bean germination. Marrowfat pea contracts are available on the
well-established variety Kabuki, along with large blue pea contracts on a wide range of varieties
including Daytona, Kingfisher and LG Stallion. Kingfisher is now the stiffest variety on the PGRO
list and has excellent colour retention, and LG Stallion this year took the new world record pea yield at 7.48t/ha. The key to maximising the contract price is always colour retention. Variety selection can help in both marrowfats and blue peas, as can suitability of harvest date, harvesting slightly early and drying slowly. There are some new contenders on the PGRO list worthy of consideration, subject to seed availability, including Bluetime from LSPB. This variety has good seed size and robust disease resistance and is the highest yielding variety on the 2019 list. Crop nutrition, in particular micro-nutrition, is critical to maximise the yield potential of the pea crop. We would urge growers to focus on this as part of their spring management. Leaf testing is essential to highlight deficiencies and enable suitable applications to maximise crop potential. We shouldnâ€™t forget the contribution of the pea crop to a two-year gross margin, taking into account the performance boost to the subsequent first wheat. This will have a high yield potential and will benefit from residual N fixed by the pea crop. In addition, peas can be harvested reasonably early, creating the best possible entry for wheat.
Spring beans Lynx will remain the market leader in spring 2020, having had the largest area in seed production last harvest. Lynx features an excellent all-round agronomic package, including standing ability and downy mildew resistance. Seed size and pale hilum are the key driving factors for the human consumption market from a variety selection point of view, as well as insect damage in the harvested crop. We would urge growers to make use of the PGRO and wider industry tools for alerts to potential issues from bruchid beetle. Mallory looks a nice addition to the market, with good seed size and equivalent downy mildew resistance to Lynx. There are also some new varieties with low vicine and convicine levels, which will be worth keeping an eye on as market opportunities grow in the animal feed sector.
The Fertiliser Report Calum Findlay, head of fertiliser
Head of fertiliser Calum Findlay highlights how information exchange and evolving best practice in the fertiliser sector can help keep UK farming competitive while reducing its environmental impact.
Market commentary Entering the new season in June, the nitrogen market appeared to have a stable to firm background. Despite the fact that granular urea, the main price driver, was trading $30/t higher than 12 months before, the potential upside always felt limited from the beginning. Attention at the time was on India, which was tendering earlier and for more tonnes than normal, production in China, and the potential impact of reduced and late corn plantings in the US.
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) Fertiliser Sector was created to support its many members who represent over 95% of the UK’s agricultural fertiliser supply industry.
Manufacturers were feeling comfortable. June and July tonnage seemed accounted for which, in combination with a few manufacturing plant turnarounds in Egypt and Algeria, helped push the market slightly higher through June into July.
It acts as a united voice for the fertiliser industry in the UK, representing its interests within the UK and European governments, helping to improve the competitive position of members and, crucially, driving the sustainability of farming and UK food production. The past three years has been a busy period for the AIC, lobbying on behalf of the UK with counterparts in Europe. Information exchange on trade assurance, legislation guidelines, technical support and trading collaboration has hopefully laid the foundations that will allow the UK to plan and continue to move forwards. By working together, our industry standards and aspirations to produce safe and environmentally friendly fertiliser will remain intact, so any legislation on transport, distribution, storage and use will not be compromised in the future. The UK is a net importer of fertilisers, with over 50% of our requirement arriving here from overseas. CF Fertilisers is the only domestic mineral fertiliser production company in the UK. The company manufactures over 1.5mln t every year, equivalent to 40% of the UK’s total fertiliser needs. Products include high quality ammonium nitrate Nitram, NS grades and a range of NPK compound fertilisers, which ADM Agriculture distributes on a national basis. Over the years, CF has continued to invest considerable resource in establishing the best fertiliser practice for use in the UK.
In addition, we work closely with SKW Piesteritz in Germany, which manufactures some of the most innovative stabilised urea products on the planet, such as Alzon neo-N (pictured below), that greatly reduce ammonia emissions and ensure a crop’s nitrogen supply in unpredictable weather. It now feels as though we are entering the next agricultural revolution. As the world’s agricultural land base shrinks and demand for food rises, the need to increase productivity from existing farmland becomes more pressing. At the same time, environmental scrutiny is increasing. On Monday October 15th, the UK government introduced a landmark bill to Parliament to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time to help meet net-zero by 2050, as well as improve biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency.
On June 10th CF announced terms that were slightly higher than some had anticipated, reflecting a firm urea market and a robust ammonium nitrate and sulphur market across Europe. Availability for June, July and August were all sold, but as the UK harvest started, attention quickly moved away from fertilisers. In September, demand died due to Brexit uncertainty post October and the threat of fertiliser tariffs. Despite two more sizeable Indian urea tenders since June, nitrogen pricing has traded sideways at best. The trade and farmers have sat and watched from a distance not wanting to commit, preferring instead to wait for more clarity, while knowing European and UK markets remain behind normal as we enter November.
Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, changing land use to capture more carbon, and farming in a smarter way are all key to reaching our desired goals, while remaining the efficient farming nation we are today.
Field to Flour Growers Club Head of grain trading Jonathan Lane highlights rewarding opportunities for forward-looking growers who would like to work more closely with ADM, producing top-quality wheat with minimal environmental impact for a defined end market. In a world where separatism seems to be the modus operandi, ADM is trying to buck the trend within its supply chains.
Members of the club have access to guaranteed
The ADM Field to Flour Growers Club has been devised to bring the best UK wheat growers together to supply one of the world’s largest food processors, in an attempt to drive continual improvement into the supply chain.
manage any feed base risk separately. In addition,
As a company, ADM is committed to meeting environmental obligations, while continually improving efforts to protect the environment and enhance environmental sustainability. Through the network of flour mills across the country, ADM wants to encourage local growers to demonstrate a mutual desire to strive to minimise the environmental impact of growing wheat and engage, in schemes that will help deliver increased on-farm biodiversity. In return, ADM recognises that growers want to have a defined end market, with a known base quality premium, to help with business planning, whilst retaining some opportunity to take advantage of any increases in the market.
minimum premiums with significant upside
potential, which also gives them the ability to
they can lock in movement months in order to help plan on-farm work loads and aid cash flow.
ADM also recognises that there can be quality
fluctuations and wants to try to minimise claims
for club members. To aid this, the scheme allows growers to deliver to an average specification, rather than on a load-by-load basis.
Millers at ADM are keen to get to know their suppliers and want to encourage two-way
engagement from their club members by meeting at their local mills.
These meetings will be a forum to share thoughts on subjects like varietal requirements and to
give guidance on market conditions. ADM wants this club to be more than just a transactional relationship.
ADM Agriculture Ltd Lindsey House • Hemswell Cliff Gainsborough • Lincolnshire • DN21 5TH Tel: +44 1427 421200
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ADM desires to work with the best growers who are focused on continued improvement in their farming practices and delivering the best possible wheat. Members will be required to engage with ADM to help drive quality, innovation and service, as well as delivering an overarching focus on improving the environmental impact of their crop production. David Sheppard, joint managing director, ADM Agriculture Limited