Regional planting intentions for harvest 2024: Grain market daily

Tuesday, 19 December 2023

Market commentary

  • UK feed wheat futures (May-24) closed at £194.15/t yesterday, up £0.25/t from Friday’s close. The Nov-24 contract also gained £0.25/t over the same period, ending the session at £206.55/t.
  • Domestic wheat futures followed European grain prices up on the back of increased export demand. Saudi Arabia bought 1.353 Mt of wheat yesterday. While a large proportion expected to be of Russian origin, the origins won’t be set until the wheat is shipped (LSEG).
  • Paris rapeseed futures (May-24) were up €0.50/t yesterday, closing at €437.50/t. The Nov-24 contract closed at €443.00/t, up €0.25/t over the same period.
  • Paris rapeseed futures followed the US soyabean market up yesterday. Despite welcomed rains in dry areas of Brazil benefitting the soyabean crop, improved US export demand outweighed any pressure.
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Olivia Bonser

Senior Analyst (Cereals & Oilseeds)

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Regional planting intentions for harvest 2024

Following the release of the final 2023 planted areas by Defra, we’re able to release the regional results of the Early Bird Survey (EBS). The EBS captured early plantings and planting intentions in early November, and these results are now applied to the final Defra numbers. This means we can release regional and updated UK wheat, barley, oat and rapeseed planting intentions for harvest 2024, along with estimates for a wider range of crops.

Since the EBS was carried out, the weather has remained wet with the Met Office reporting 120% of 1991 – 2020 average rainfall in November across England. As a result, many farmers may not have been able to plant everything they intended. AHDB will be providing an update on planting intentions in spring 2024, when the weather allows.

Map showing rainfall in autumn 2023 was above average for most of the UK

Headlines for the updated national figures, based on the final Defra figures, include:

  • The UK wheat area for harvest 2024 is projected at 1.66 Mha, down 3% year-on-year and the lowest since 2020.
  • A 4% year-on-year rise in the anticipated barley area to 1,179 Kha, as higher spring barley planting intentions outweigh a drop in the winter barley area.
  • Larger oat plantings for harvest 2024 are expected, up 8% from harvest 2023 to 180 Kha.
  • Oilseed rape (OSR) plantings are anticipated to fall 19% year-on-year to 317 Kha.
  • A lower pulse area, down 11% from harvest 2023.
  • A sizeable rise in the intended area of arable fallow (+25%). However, this may partially reflect uncertainty on cropping intentions given planting conditions were already difficult when the survey was carried out.

Final EBS forecast of planting intentions for harvest 2024 by crop

The regional results show that as of early November, overall winter cropping is down in all regions though there is some variation by crop.

However, some of the largest shifts in cropping patterns are expected in the East Midlands and Yorkshire & The Humber. In the East Midlands, the wheat area is expected to fall 8% for harvest 2024, with the OSR area down 37%, while large increases are expected to the spring barley and oat areas. If confirmed, the estimated OSR area in the East Midlands (and Eastern region) would be the lowest for those regions since Defra began reporting regional data in 2001.

Similarly, for Yorkshire & The Humber, the wheat area is predicted to fall 7%, with OSR down 31%. Should bioethanol demand remain strong in the North East of England as it is so far this season, smaller wheat areas could further support regional delivered price premiums and grain imports in 2024/25.

Read the full details of the EBS on the website.

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Helen Plant

Senior Analyst (Cereals & Oilseeds)

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