MI Northern Ireland Market Report

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05 December 2018

Global grain markets tracked sideways early last week (26 November-30 November), before US markets rose owing to US and China trade meetings at the G20 summit.

Currency fluctuations continued to cause day-to-day shifts in UK markets and wider European prices, but overall markets moved sideways over the course of the week.

Early GB planting intentions for the 2019 harvest suggest a 4% year on year rise in the wheat area, the highest area for five years (AHDB Early Bird Survey). A combination of good autumn drilling conditions for many and higher pricing has encouraged more planting of winter crops, including winter barley and oats.

UK wheat availability in 2018/19 is expected to remain historically tight, despite a drop in demand from the bioethanol sector. The first official estimates of UK supply and demand from AHDB peg the surplus available for free stock or exports at just 800Kt. Although 233Kt higher than in 2017/18, this is still well below the previous five season average of 1.95Mt.

The final DAERA June survey results for Northern Ireland revised down the 2018 cereals area. The area of wheat fell by 22% in 2018 when compared to 2017. The area of oats and winter barley also recorded falls. Conversely arable silage and forage maize areas saw notable increases up 18% and 17% respectively from 2017 levels.

Global oilseeds prices had mixed movement last week. Chicago soyabean futures (May-19) gained in advance of the G20 summit, where the US and Chinese leaders met to discuss the current trade dispute. Meanwhile in Europe, Paris rapeseed futures (May-19) continued to drift due to a lack of demand, whilst new crop futures (Nov-19) rose slightly following downward revisions to the projected 2019 EU rapeseed area.

The provisional results of AHDB’s Early Bird Survey of UK cropping intentions for 2019 include a 3% reduction in the rapeseed area. Dry conditions in early autumn hindered crop establishment, with the difficulties compounded by cabbage stem flea beetle damage in some regions.