41m tonnes of French wheat hits the markets

A glut of EU grain has confirmed poor price prospects for Irish growers, as the harvest continues.

Last week, the French wheat harvest exceeded forecasts, and is likely to total a record 41 million tonnes of grain.

There have also been strong wheat and barley yields in the UK, and in both countries, the bumper harvests have put further pressure on grain prices, as the trade moved to offload surpluses.

In France, the drive to move wheat to make room in stores for the maize harvest forced shippers, merchants and farmers to cut prices, without strong exports to help, because cheaper Ukrainian and Russian grain dominated the export trade.

Last weekend, IFA reported spot dried barley prices down marginally, ranging from €155 to €157/t, with November and December quotes at 160-162.

Dried wheat for spot collection slipped also, to €166-168. November quotes were also lower, at €170-172.

Deals on green barley at 20% moisture (excluding VAT) were reported at €135-140, with free haulage on larger lots. Green wheat was €5-10 over barley.

The best news for grain growers is that December 2016 Matif milling wheat futures are running €16/t over December 2015 quotes, and €33/t over spot prices, attributed to increasing soil moisture deficits across key producing winter wheat areas of Russia and the Ukraine, which have delayed sowings, boosting the new crop futures markets.

Teagasc sources said the early harvest demand for straw was very weak, but with choppers likely to be turned off in later crops, especially wheat, buyers would realise that the straw supply has reduced more than expected.


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