Organic Market Update 11th October 2023

It has been a challenging season and harvest for arable producers.   Although autumn crops went into good conditions in 2022, the same was not true for the spring drilled crops.  A very wet March delayed planting and then newly established crops faced a very dry spell of weather which hampered development.  When the April and May drought broke rains came sporadically and were localised leaving some areas dry and others too wet.  Although  farmers reporting weather conditions rarely provide objective reports!  There were good solar radiation levels through June which has helped provide tome good quality milling wheat. Finally, the weather turned catchy for harvest making it a challenging harvest and affecting grain quality.  


As every year harvest throws a range of results with some reporting good yields and as ever very different yields within farms in seemingly similar situations.  Combine yield meters achieving 8-9 t per ha for area of fields but unfortunately across the whole field!  Getting greater consistency needs to be the focus.


We are seeing high protein levels in spring wheats with samples over 14% being well up on last year.  Unfortunately bushel weights seem to be lower this season with some of the higher protein samples having poor bushel and needing cleaning prior to marketing.  Milling wheat premiums for these samples at around £70 per tonne which supports doing so.


Milling oat samples are similarly lower in bushel weight.  After a fantastic crop in 2022 this year’s oats are less good with lower bushel weight and higher screenings but conditioning will produce some reasonable milling samples.  Milling oats are around £280 ex farm depending on quality.

The market has reversed from the extraordinary highs of last year with feed grains trading at around £280 ex farm for wheat and with barley and oats below this level.  Milling oats at about £280 for good samples.  Feed barley has little demand in the East and growers in the East will bear a discount to access markets in the West.

We have accessed some markets for lower protein wheat into the milling market but this is a market that is very oversupplied.  The success of Extase as a variety and the large volume now grown means millers have a good choice of samples to choose from.  Mayflower also a group 2 variety will also suit this market.  Nelson and Siskin produce similar low protein samples and so fall into the same category. The bolder the berry the more attractive the sample to the miller.  If growing winter wheat it is best budgeted as a feed wheat with any premiums achieved as a bonus.