Uncertain outlook for grain prices on the back of increased feed stocks

Tillage farmers are facing into a harvest of price uncertainty as a bumper European harvest is likely to apply downward pressure on grain prices.

According to Teagasc’s Michael Hennessy, there is a lot of feed grain currently available on the world market.

Speaking to Agriland, the Teagasc Crop Specialist said that it difficult to say what way the extra supplies will affect prices, but they are more likely to apply downward rather than upward pressure.

Hennessy also spoke about the Matif wheat price, which is used extensively in Irish malting barley contracts.

So far this harvest, farmers in France have faced difficulties with poor quality milling wheat crops which are now being sold onto the feed wheat market.

But, Hennessy said that this is likely to have little impact on malting prices in Ireland and if it has it will only be small.

Irish harvest outlook

Closer to home, Hennessy said that Irish cereal crops look relatively good.

He said that the yields from winter cereal crops will be clearer next week when the harvest gets into full swing.

He also advised farmers not to panic over the low yields attained from the first crops harvested, as the first crops harvested usually have the lowest yields.

Winter barley yields disappoint

Farmers in Laois and Kildare are particularly disappointed with the yields harvested from winter barley crops, a spokesperson for the Irish Grain Growers Association (IGGA) has said.

According to the IGGA, the first of the winter barley crops harvested are producing average yields of 3.3t/ac, while straw yield is also back by between two-three bales per acre.

The spokesperson also said that yields are down considerably on last year and in some cases they have dropped by 0.75-1t/ac.

He continued to say that growers are disappointed with the first quotes for feed barley which are currently sitting at €117-120/t.

Europe to face a bumper harvest

The upcoming European cereal harvest could be the third bumper crop in a row, according to the European Commission’s short-term outlook.

It says that despite the recent heavy shows that have affected the main grain producing regions across the EU, indications suggest that main cereal crops will produce high yields this year.

Overall, this may result in yields above the past five-year average, particularly for soft wheat (+4%), durum wheat (+2%), barley (+7%) and maize (+6%).

But, these yields are expected to be lower than the record yields produced during the 2015-2015 period.