Grain price: At home farmers await price, while futures rise

Grain price can be described as positive at present. Farmers who delivered winter barley in the past number of weeks and days will most likely have to wait until the spring harvest is underway – or complete – to receive a final price for their produce; unless those farmers forward sold grain.

However, €170/t looks to be a standard base price for winter barley, while €175/t is also being mentioned. Some merchants have been reported to be paying sums of money on account for grain.

In this situation, the balance payment will be paid when a final price is decided on.

Irish barley has re-entered the dry-grain trade. Prices for dry barley were moving around €200/t or slightly lower over the course of the week.

Away from home

Meanwhile, the winter wheat harvest has begun in the UK and yields are back slightly on average, as was the case with winter barley yields.

Quality does not look to be anything out of the ordinary; early samples of winter wheat are reading 72-75 KPH.

Yields are also back in Scandinavian crops, where Ireland sources a proportion of its imported grain.

Malting barley production is now expected to be down in northern Europe. Stratégie Grains (France) expects no surplus malting barley to be available in the EU this season.

Drought and extreme weather seem to have finally had a significant effect on futures’ markets. While a predicted lower worldwide supply is also contributing to increased grain price.

In Russia, spring wheat yields are expected to be 10% lower than last season, while – in the US – the drier conditions are leading to a decrease in maize and soybean crop condition scores. The percentage of crops rated ‘good to excellent’ is dropping each week.

LIFFE

LIFFE wheat (November) reached a peak this week and the weaker value of sterling is thought to be behind this increase.

On Friday (July 20), the futures’ price stood at £175.50/t (€196.43/t), up almost £2/t (€2.24/t) on the day before. The price hit £173.50/t (€193.96/t) on July 19.

This price is an increase of over £12/t (€13.42/t) from the start of the month.

November wheat started at £169.10/t (€189.04/t) on Monday (July 16) and moved to £171.70/t (€191.95/t) and £171.50/t (€191.72/t) on Tuesday and Wednesday (July 17 and 18).

MATIF

Boortmalt suppliers will be happy to see that the MATIF price for December went over €190/t this week, having hovered in the high eighties for some time.

By Friday (July 20), the December price was €193.25/t, up from €189.25/t on Thursday (July 19) evening.

Throughout the week, that price moved from €186/t on Monday (July 16) to €188.75/t on Tuesday (July 17) and €187.75 on Wednesday (July 18).

CBOT

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat moved back over 500c/bu (€156.80/t) on Thursday (July 19) and reached 520c/bu (€163.08/t) on Friday morning (July 20), but by close of day it stood at 516c/bu (€161.63/t).

This price was at 515c/bu (€161.50/t) on July 6, but was struggling to make it back over the mark last week.

From Monday to Thursday (July 16-19) of this week, prices were at 488.50c/bu (€/153.35/t), 497.75c/bu (€156.11/t), 494.50c/bu (€155.18/t) and 504.25c/bu (€158/t) respectively.

Brian Ireland unloading grain in Danesfort, Co. Kilkenny

Farmers advised to explore options

IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) Grain Committee Chairman Mark Browne stated that yields are variable across the country and – as a result – he urged tillage farmers to demand a viable return for their product.

He advised growers to consider all options available to them – such as wholecrop – to maximise returns from their business.

Browne described the situation in spring crops as “average at best” and stated that the spring crop harvest has the potential to be a crisis among tillage farmers.

However, severe drought in north-western Europe and Poland is expected to result in an increased demand. On the other end of the scale, thunder and hail storms have caused serious crop losses in south-west France. This should encourage an increase in prices.