GB harvest slowly progressing: Grain market daily

Friday, 18 August 2023

Market commentary

  • UK feed wheat futures (Nov-23) closed yesterday at £186.40/t, down £2.60/t on Wednesday’s close. The Nov-24 contract closed at £196.00/t, down £2.00/t over the same period.
  • Domestic wheat prices were pressured with both the Chicago and Paris wheat markets yesterday. The Paris market eased as concern over the latest attack on a Ukrainian port subsided and attention shifted back to large Black Sea supplies. The Chicago market ended lower on weak US export demand and competition for business from Russian supplies.
  • Paris rapeseed futures (Nov-23) closed at €468.25/t yesterday, gaining €7.75/t on Wednesday’s close. Rapeseed gained with Chicago soyabean markets, as forecasts of hot and dry weather in the US bring concerns of impact to production with the crop in key development stages.

GB harvest slowly progressing

Today, we have released the third harvest report for the 2023/24 season; this report covers GB harvest progress, information and data to the week ending 15 August. Over this period, harvest has progressed, with some sunny spells and some regions seeing some longer weather windows. But weather has been variable by region, which continues to contribute to this stop-start harvest. Some regions have continued to experience showers and incidences of localised heavy rainfall, hindering regional and overall national progress.

The latest update shows that the GB winter barley and oilseed rape harvest have caught up. The GB oat harvest has also progressed at some speed across the week. Winter wheat is very much behind last year’s rapid progression, and spring barley harvest progression is lagging behind five-year averages due to later sown crops which are still not mature in some regions.

In data to 15 August, winter barley harvest is now near complete. It's reported there is a small number of fields left in Yorkshire and Scotland, which is on par with the five-year average of 99%.

Meanwhile, harvest of spring barley is 24% complete; this is below the five-year average of 32% complete at this point in the season (week 6).

For winter wheat, 37% of the total area has been harvested, which is below the five-year average of 56% complete by this stage in the season. In Yorkshire, it has been reported that priority has been given to harvesting spring barley, especially malting varieties, in an effort to preserve grain quality.

To the week ending 15 August, the GB oat harvest is 34% complete, and winter oilseed rape harvest 98% complete. Progress over the past week has meant that both crops are now ahead of the five-year averages of 28% and 93%.

Reports point to varied yields by region, variety and especially by soil type, with lighter soils which have previously experienced water stress yielding lower. For oilseed rape, yields are also very variable but generally poor – with lower yields largely attributed to wet and windy weather, and pest damage.

Looking at straw, where improved weather has allowed (region dependent), its reported that less winter wheat straw is being chopped compared to the week before. Straw yields are varying by crop and region. The North West are reporting lower than normal yields for winter wheat and winter barley straw. Whereas in the East straw yields are reportedly better for many on average. For spring barley straw, though much has been chopped, earlier-sown crops are reportedly yielding better. 

All the latest information on area harvested, yields and quality is available on the AHDB harvest progress in Great Britain page, which has a full interactive dashboard.

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