Market Update 22nd March 24

I have been accused of being rather bleak about the arable sector at times but my mood reflects that of many arable producers at present.  The continuous wet weather has created significant challenges in crop establishment this spring with only one producer so far as I’m aware having drilled anything.  Usually by mid-March people would be cracking on and perhaps 50+% drilled.  Worse still water-logged soils have adversely affected a proportion of the winter drilled crops  some areas will hopefully recover as dried, warmer weather comes but these winter crops have not developed much biomass over the winter and would probably be re-drilled in a usual year. 

Wet soils will take longer to warm up and nutrient leaching will have been higher than usual meaning spring development may well be slower than usual.  If the later planting and slower development impacts yield potential as crop biomass is lower it could mean grain proteins are higher - fingers crossed.

Finally, last year’s wet harvest affected seed quality making seed both scarce and expensive this Spring with prices remaining at similar levels to last year despite the grain price on which the seed premium is determined being about £100 lower.    To show some positivity those winter crops that have not drowned are looking well although in our trials we are seeing some indications of Extase carrying some yellow rust.

The organic feed market remains well supplied with mills reporting good cover in the nearby positions making spot sales challenging.  There remains demand for good quality milling wheat but most of this is now sold and available volumes are low.  Values are about £260 - £270 ex farm for feed wheat with barley and oats at a discount.  Feed wheat and feed oats remain in good supply whilst feed barley is tighter as mills have increased usage this year to help use carried over stocks.