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Wet weather impacts condition of winter crops: Grain Market Daily

Friday, 3 April 2020

Market Commentary

  • The condition of the French wheat crop declined slightly again with 62% of crops deemed in ‘good – excellent’ condition. This is a decline of 1% on the week and is quite a drop from the rating of 84% this time last year. Spring barley sowings in the country were 97% complete as of March 30, according to FranceAgriMer.
  • Brent crude oil prices spiked as much as 47% yesterday on news that the US hoped to reach an output reduction agreement with Russia and Saudi Arabia. Prices are now above the vital $30/bbl mark. There was also news of an Opec+ meeting pencilled in for 6 April; with hopes that further agreements will be made. This should support vegetable oil markets though many await a formal agreement.
  • We have also published an in-depth look at one of the global impacts of coronavirus on oilseed markets. The full article can be found here.

Alex Cook

Trainee Analyst

Wet weather impacts condition of winter crops

The ADAS crop development report to the end of March, released today, gives us the first indications of how winter crops have fared over the winter and the progress of spring drilling so far. Unsurprisingly, for all winter crops there are a greater proportion sitting in the ‘poor to very poor condition’ category than at this point last year. However, with the drier weather that has settled over much of the country of late and the crucial growing months still ahead, there is an opportunity for growers to catch up on spray applications that may have been restricted due to conditions.


As expected, drilling of winter wheat is complete with any further area very unlikely to be added. Drilling of spring wheat began in the last two weeks of March, with settled weather benefiting soil conditions. The earliest drilled spring wheat was showing emergence at the end of March.

With pockets of winter wheat drilled in late February and early March, 6% of the winter wheat crop is reportedly ‘not yet emerged’.

Of the winter wheat crop that has emerged, the large majority, 67%, was rated as ‘fair to good’ condition, with 9% rated as ‘excellent’. An estimated 18% of the wheat crop was deemed to be in ‘poor to very poor condition’. At the same point last year, just 1% of the winter wheat crop was rated in ‘poor to very poor condition’, whilst 36% was deemed to be in ‘excellent condition’. This highlights the effect of the challenging weather conditions experienced across the UK this autumn and winter.

The better weather in the latter half of March enabled nitrogen applications to be completed, enabling some poorer crops to recover.


An estimated 50% of the intended spring barley was drilled by the end of March. This intended figure is likely to rise, with some failed winter crop area switching to spring barley. Drilling of spring barley is reportedly nearing completion in many areas with lighter soils. With better weather through March this year, spring barley drilling was 4% ahead of the same point last year.

The winter barley area was drilled by early November, with approximately 51% and 42% of the total area drilled in September and October respectively. The later drilled winter barley crop has shown varied establishment levels due to the wetter weather. An estimated 18% of the winter barley crop was deemed in ‘poor to very poor’ condition, whereas last year 0% of the winter barley crop was rated in that condition. Approximately 10% was rated in ‘excellent’ condition, this figure is also down on the excellent condition rating of 22% for the same point last year.

Much of the winter barley crop was able to receive pre-emergence herbicides where possible.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Winter oilseed rape drilled early with adequate moisture has established well. However, later sown fields were reportedly showing signs of crop stress, more vulnerable to pest damage. At the end of March, approximately 15% of the WOSR crop was deemed to be in ‘very poor’ condition, with questionable viability for the remainder of the season. A further 22% of the crop was rated in ‘poor’ condition. This combined 37% rating is an increase on the combined 17% rating published in the March 19 report.

As the majority (56%) of the crop enters the green bud stage, it is increasingly evident in fields which plants have been stunted from pest and waterlogging damage. Disease pressures over winter was relatively low for the crop, with light leaf spot incidence only present on untreated crop.


Drilling of winter oats is reportedly completed, with only small areas drilled in February and March. It is estimated that 45% of the intended spring oat area was drilled by the end of March. The majority of the winter oat crop (53%) was deemed to be in ‘good to excellent’ condition with only 14% considered to be in ‘poor to very poor condition’. Last year, 0% of the winter oats crop was rated as ‘poor to very Poor’, with an estimated 79% of the crop considered to be in ‘good to excellent’.

The settled weather during March enabled first nitrogen applications to be applied to the crop.

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