GB crop update - potential to yield well with some watchpoints: Grain market daily

Friday, 31 March 2023

Market commentary

  • UK feed wheat futures (May-23) closed yesterday at £204.00/t, down £5.75/t on Wednesday’s close. New crop futures (Nov-23) closed at £218.00/t, down £3.75/t over the same period.
  • Global wheat markets were pressured yesterday as the market awaits further clarification on the impact on global wheat supplies. This comes as both Cargill and Viterra have announced that they will be leaving the Russian grain export market, by stopping its origination and export programmes out of Russia from July.
  • Paris rapeseed futures (May-23) closed yesterday at €466.75/t, down €12.75/t on Wednesday’s close. EU oilseed output is expected to hit a record high in 2023/24 – this comes as the EU Commission expects oilseed crops to increase by 7% on the year, and production to be at a record 33.5Mt, mainly because of a larger area sown. Rapeseed production for harvest 2023 is forecast at 19.8Mt, up 1% on the year and forecast 15% above the five-year average.

GB crop update - potential to yield well with some watchpoints

Today, the latest crop development report has been released, with condition scores to the week ending 28 March 2023

The mild autumn we saw in 2022 allowed crops to establish well and develop quickly. Though the cold, dry winter that followed has reduced some early gains. Autumn herbicides have generally been effective at providing good weed control. It is also reported that the cold and dry conditions have resulted in relatively low disease pressure too. Temperatures have been variable throughout winter, with severe frosts occurring in December and January.

February then brought exceptionally dry conditions, which resulted in soils becoming unusually dry too. This allowed for early sowing of spring crops under good conditions, with some early drilling even on some heavier land. Though with cold weather since then, this has slowed the emergence of newly sown crops for some.

Increased heavy rainfall too throughout March has delayed drilling since then, as well as delaying fertiliser and pesticide applications in some regions. With March rain stopping field work, April will be busy catching up with late drilling, spraying and fertiliser applications.

Overall, winter grain crops look well, with the potential to deliver good yields. Though, it is noted this is providing disease pressure is effectively managed in winter barley crops.

For winter oilseed rape, condition is variable, but there is still potential for good yields where crops have grown away from CSFB damage. Reports note that crop establishment of winter OSR has been variable, arising from slow establishment due to dry autumn condition and issues with cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) infestations. Though, most crops are reported to have either recovered, or have been replaced.

For spring crops, wet weather in March has delayed drilling for many. Though earlier sown spring wheat, barley and oat crops have good potential.

For the most part, crop conditions scores of emerged crops are improved in comparison to the same point last year, especially for winter cropping.

  A table showing crop condition scores as at March 2023

For more information on disease and weed pressure, and information by crop type, please follow this link.

Be sure to check out the AHDB Crop Development page which has detail information on crop establishment, nutrition, weed, pest and disease pressure and prospects for the coming months ahead. Furthermore, there is also an interactive dashboard visualising the growth stages and develop of all major crops (wheat, barley, oats, rapeseed).

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