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Grain & Fertiliser Gossip

by Graham Henderson – Winter barley harvest seems well under way in Suffolk this week (w/c 18/7/16). Reports so far locally, and from further south, seem to show significant variation on both yield and quality. This has probably resulted from a variable climate over the last three months and particularly following the June rain and lack of sunshine. Perhaps the most worrying factor is low bushel weight being seen on some farms. Locally they seem to be cutting average yields and moisture at below 14 per cent. If the weather holds we could see a significant area of winter barley harvested here by the end of the week, despite some storms giving problems. Finding homes for non-contracted winter malting barley may be difficult unless we see some rejections. No doubt wheat cutting will start by early August if this weather holds. A recent Suffolk conference on water saw a large number of farmers involved in irrigation come together to look to the future. ESWAG (East Suffolk Water Abstraction Group), alongside the Suffolk Agricultural Association, discussed the future of water availability to support on-going production of vegetable crops across the area. Paul Hammett from the NFU told the group that Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk produce 34 per cent of the national output of fresh produce. Irrigated crops are at the heart of a food and drink industry producing crops which support 50,000 jobs with a value of £3 billion. One project in Suffolk being considered is the creation of a new reservoir to conserve land drainage water that is currently being pumped out to sea. Apparently around 1,500 megalitres are pumped out to the sea in the area while farm requirement is approximately 800 megalitres. As I understand it, with a new large reservoir to contain this water, there could be a reduction in the need to extract from boreholes and also a transfer of excess water to the Alton Water reservoir (south of Ipswich) for domestic purposes. This seems to me to be a pilot operation that should give a lead to the rest of the country at a time when we are going to need to preserve water with our rising temperatures and unpredictable climate. I read that the NFU has lodged a formal complaint to the National Trading Institute about branding products with fake farm names. Tesco was cited for using brand names such as the fictitious “Woodside Farms” on some products. Well, fancy that! Our new government shuffle under Teresa May has shaken up Defra by appointing Andrea Leadsom as Defra secretary. As a Brexit promoter she promised that food would remain cheap outside the EU and, in the past, said that we should do away with farm subsidies. As she’s a supporter of organic foods I have no doubt that we shall see lower subsidies when we leave the EU.

Grain Gossip Currently, feed wheat in East Anglia is fetching around £116/t ex-farm, £112/t is available for


Spot Global Grain Prices

Source: AHDB 145

LIFFE feed wheat CBOT wheat CBOT maize


125 £ per tonne





85 Jul-15






harvest and £116/t for November. Feed barley is at least £12–£15/t below this. However, as stated earlier, there are poor bushel weights which could result in a further £5/t discount to these prices if you can find a home. Today’s indicated yields are reducing the expected UK barley harvest tonnage down from 7mt to 6.5mt. Across Europe yields have been good in Russia and Ukraine and OK in Germany. However, France seems to be having a poor harvest with barley quality low – especially bushel weights – and harvest is later than normal, no doubt due to rain. Unseasonal and variable weather across France and the UK in recent months has had an effect on grain quality. Globally, wheat supplies are predicted to be in excess of 980mt this year with increases in Eastern Europe, USA, Australia, Argentina and Canada. We are going to be in a world of surplus wheat for the year ahead with an expected consumption of only 730mt. This is going to hold prices down for the next 12 months or so.








Rugby Ramblings With rugby in a summer rest period there is nothing to say at the moment and most of the media is relying on looking back at previous action. Roll on the autumn international rugby matches and a new premiership season. However, in cricket, England lost the first Test Match to Pakistan at Lord’s which was little more than interesting on a poor pitch. The second Test at Old Trafford is entering its fourth day as I write and we await to see if England’s controversial decision not to enforce the follow on was the right one or not. Ahead of you reading this, we shall have the answer. Call me on 07979 537777; or e-mail: to talk about selling grain or buying your fertiliser requirements.

Fertiliser Fragments With the lowering of sterling values due to Brexit, potash and phosphate producers are looking for price increases of somewhere in the region of £20/t. This puts Muriate of Potash up to around £230/t and TSP to £265/t on farm. It predictably leaves blenders with problems of balancing stock in hand at cheaper prices with additional replacement stocks. Imported nitrogen has obviously increased in price as all fertilisers are traded in dollars. CF has slightly increased Nitram prices which are now trading at £168–£172/t. It has been stated that there will be a £5/t increase in the autumn but this may well depend on the level of sales achieved in the next couple of months. Meanwhile, granular urea has increased by about £20/t to around £195/t with further increases likely. However, traders will have already purchased stock at a lower price. It is advisable to buy at least some stock now.

- Balanced advice and quality service Graham Henderson N.D.A.

07979 537777 or 01394 286613 email: Talk m to grain e for sal Direct buying agent for pfertiliseers & urcha all combinable crops ses

specialising in malting barley and other grains for Muntons Malt.

Direct selling agent for fertilisers trading UK solid, liquid and suspension fertiliser from UK producers and imported nitrogen. August 2016

1-31 ROP Aug.indd 7



25/07/2016 11:40

August 2016  

Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue

August 2016  

Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue