Market Overview

Wheat / Barley / Maize

Grain markets enter a period of volatility due to intensified military action between Russia and Ukraine.

Persistent missile and drone strikes by Russia are taking their toll on Ukraine’s grain export pace, particularly on maritime routes reports suggest.

The EU commission announced tariffs of 95 euros per tonne for imports of Russian and Belarussian grain. Russian wheat has been abundant and competitive for EU markets.

EU Agri ministers have reached a compromised agreement with Ukraine to curb imports of agricultural products. This could cut wheat imports from Ukraine to the EU back down to 5MT. In 2023 wheat imports from Ukraine reached 7MT.

Reports suggest the 2024 UK wheat crop will be downgraded with estimates ranging from 10.5MT to 11.5MT. This lower then February’s estimate of 12MT and down from 14MT seen last year.

Global wheat ending stocks for 2023/2024 excluding China are down 5.5MT year on year. The stocks/Use ratio is down to a 16 year low.

Concerns persist for crops in parts of Europe with less than half (48%) of the French spring barley crop planted by 18th March. This is well behind the five year average pace of 89%. While larger crops are expected for key global producers in 2024, delays to EU plantings and dry soil in Canada continue to cause uncertainty over the long term outlook.

The USDA currently projects the Brazil 2024 maize crop at 124MT. However, due to dry weather conditions, CONAB have cut their estimates to 113MT.

US maize planting acres are forecast to fall by 3.6 million to 91 million. However, beneficial rain is forecast for much of the US maize growing belt this week. This should aid soil moisture ahead of planting.

Hi Pro Soya / Rapemeal

Hi Pro Soya stocks have become tight as suppliers wait for South American new crop stocks to arrive. New stocks are expected sometime in mid to late April depending on UK weather conditions.

Long term, soybean prices have been pressured as Brazil’s soybean harvest progresses and a storm across the US Midwest aided soil moisture for the upcoming soybean planting campaign.

As of Friday, the Brazil soybean harvest was at 69.3% complete, similar to last year. Focus will turn to Argentina’s harvest, with the country experiencing heavy rain which could damage crop quality.

Attention will also turn to US Spring weather, which if wet, could impact upcoming plantings.

Rapemeal stocks have also become tight short term and prices have been supported by reduced rapeseed areas in the EU, UK, Ukraine and Canada.

Stratagie Grains estimate an 18.7MT crop in the EU for 2024, down 7%. The AHDB survey shows UK crop acreage down 24%. More imported seed may be needed to satisfy crush.