News this week does not bode well for Irish grain prices. Global corn production is forecast to be record-high and, as Irish farmers have learned in the past, that corn can have a significant impact on barley price in particular.

However, positive news came when both Glanbia and Dairygold announced that they are committed to taking in all contracted malting barley that meets specifications in harvest 2020. This will keep some barley out of the feed market and very importantly ensure those farmers keep their malting barley premium.

On the subject of barley, our neighbours in the UK are also expected to have record barley production.

Planting data from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) along with crop condition data from ADAS estimates UK barley production at over 8.3 million tonnes.

The drop in winter cropping area has been more than made up for by the increase in spring barley. That barley will have to compete to find an export market.

Wheat supplies up in WASDE report

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report came out on Tuesday, May 12.

The global wheat outlook is for larger supplies, increased trade, greater consumption and higher ending stocks.

Supplies are expected to increase from places like Australia, Argentina, Canada and Russia.

Australia’s production is expected to increase dramatically after being hit with years of severe drought. Australia’s wheat production is expected to rise by 8.8 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes.

However, wheat production in the EU looks set to decline by 12 million tonnes due to a lower crop area and expected lower yields.

Ukraine’s production, although estimated lower, is estimated to be the second largest on record at 28 million tonnes.

The US is expected to have smaller supplies of wheat along with lower domestic use, lower exports and reduced stocks.

Global corn production forecast at ‘record-high’

US corn production is expected to reach a record 16 billion bushels this season. This increase is expected to come from increased area and a return to “trend yields”.

US corn use is expected to rise in the 2020/2021 season as ethanol use is expected to increase as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Global corn production was forecast to be “record-high” in the report. Global corn use is expected to increase by 4%. Global corn stocks are also up; reduced ethanol use no doubt having a part to play in that forecast.

Grain markets

Grain markets didn’t take any major drop following the release of the report as can be seen in the table below.

Spot prices were up on Friday morning, May 15. Feed barley (delivered Rouen) was at €166/t, while the spot price for Free-On-Board (FOB) Creil malting barley was at €168/t at the same time.

Wednesday, May 13, saw FOB Creil price finished at €168/t this week for Boortmalt suppliers average price.