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Grain & Fertiliser Gossip

by Graham Henderson –

With another festive season behind us I hope you all had a good time with family and friends. As I write this article it seems a long time ago, especially as we have had the flood surge threat since then which has significantly occupied the minds of those of us who live on the east coast. Luckily, here at Felixstowe Ferry, the surge did not coincide with the high water so we did not get the expected floods. For once, all the emergency services were well prepared and lots of facilities were in place in good time. Some have said that the preparation was over the top but locally it is felt that it is better to be that way than not ready at all. I hope other areas where there were problems have not had excessive damage. By the time you read this we shall be in “Trumpland” with everything in bated anticipation knowing what, or what not, to expect. His views are rarely predictable but I am sure he is going to upset the balance of trading across the world which may well give a knock to British agriculture. If however, as I expect, he is going to upset trade from USA into China with both grain and meat, there may be UK opportunities. China has already raised import duty on US dried distillers grains by 20 per cent this month, much to the bemoaning of the Americans. The overall grain market is currently being driven by currency values which are themselves being driven by political decisions. This week (ending 20th January) Theresa May’s speech strengthened sterling against a projected likely weakening, and this held wheat values up. Elections in France, Germany and Holland this year beginning in March, could significantly affect euro values and across the pond the Trump inauguration could send the dollar value soaring (or maybe not?!). Everything is up in the air and your guess is as good as mine. I have said many times in the past – sell grain before the year-end. This year I have already been wrong and I cannot predict now what will happen except to say it will be politically motivated.

Grain Gossip Winter wheat drillings in the USA are down at their lowest level for over 100 years which is predicted to be over 4mt less production. However, we have spring drillings to come and, of course, there is a high level of world stocks. In addition, India has increased drillings which to some extent will offset USA shortfalls. As mentioned in ‘Putterings’ above, values are being mainly affected by political activity and this will continue throughout 2017. Since last writing in early December, sterling has significantly reduced in value and this is increasing grain prices. Today’s feed wheat is trading February at £141/t plus £1/t per month forward, with harvest feed wheat at £126/t and November at £131/t. This is against a December value at that time of £128/t and a forward November value of £123/t – an £8/t lift. There is a

Spot Global Grain Prices

Source: AHDB 155

LIFFE feed wheat 145

CBOT wheat CBOT maize


£ per tonne







85 Jan-16

Feb-16 Mar-16




£3–£4/t premium on soft wheats and similar on milling wheats if you can find homes for either. Feed barleys are only around £117/t for spot and may be £119/t for November. It is too early to know the final area of winter wheat sown in the UK but I do expect a good level of spring barley sowings related to the problems of black-grass. However, because of the open autumn, winter drillings could be greater than expected. Spring barley seed availability is already tight with Propino and Planet virtually sold out. This high level of planting is likely to produce lower malting barley values.

Fertiliser Fragments There have been significant changes in the fertiliser market since I last wrote and when analysed, massive changes since the current season started last July. Nitram is currently trading at around £250/t whereas it started in July at around £170/t or below. The reasons for this are based on much lower export levels of urea from China due to reduced production. It may even become an importer. North Africa urea prices have increased from $200/t fob early season to $285/t on current market and rising. Imported N is only available in limited quantities compared with normal. European AN prices have also increased. All this, and the general affect of currency, has contributed to these extraordinary increases. High N compounds are also on the increase but only to around 75 per cent of nitrogen prices. Not a very happy picture for anyone who has not bought their spring nitrogen or NPK compounds.

Rugby Ramblings Well, what a turn up for the books at Leicester. First we see the surprise departure of Richard Cockerill to Toulon and then we see the Tigers being mauled by Glasgow Warriors in no uncertain terms. I have never seen such a sudden








turn around of a Premiership team. Being beaten is one thing but being beaten 43–0 is unbelievable. It was just as much a quality game by Glasgow as a poor game by the Tigers. The weekend games (21/22 Jan) left only two Premiership teams in the European Cup; Wasps and Saracens, and Glasgow Warriors in for the first time. The Six Nations is going to be a tough event with at least four of the six fielding better teams than in recent years. France, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will be no pushover for England especially with the raft of injured players in the English squad. It will be good for spectators in many games. Call me on 07979 537777; or e-mail: to talk about selling grain or buying your fertiliser requirements.

- 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 & u r c hase all combinable crops s

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. February 2017

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Farmers Guide February 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine February 2017 Issue

Farmers Guide February 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine February 2017 Issue