Farmers must insist on Irish grain in feed rations – IFA
The IFA made the remarks in response to the continued use and increasing volumes of imported grain being used in Irish feed rations.

Farmers who buy compound feed rations must insist on the use of Irish grains. The call came from IFA Grain Committee Chairman Mark Browne after recent revelations that some feed merchants are now producing rations which contain little or no Irish grain and have replaced it with maize grain from non-EU sources.

Browne stated that Irish tillage farmers are angry at the reduction in the use of Irish grains, considering Irish wheat and in particular barley is still readily available in store.

“We are forecast to import in excess of 1.3mt of maize for the current marketing year with the majority of this originating in Canada, Brazil and the Ukraine,” he continued.

Level playing field

Low maize prices continue to undermine much of the demand for native wheat and barley.
Low maize prices continue to undermine much of the demand for native wheat and barley.
Through the acceptance of grain imports without demanding an equivalence in environmental or production standards, it has created an unlevel playing field for Irish tillage farmers.

Browne stated how Irish growers are forced to compete with non-EU feedstuffs which have regulatory and competitive advantages in relation to GM technology, fertiliser costs and use of plant protection products.

This has resulted in a reduction of 67,500 ha in the area planted with main cereal crops, which represents a drop of over 20% in the past 10 years, he says.

EU Commission hypocrisy

Browne pointed towards the hypocrisy of the EU Commission who have increased the regulatory burden on local cereal producers while allowing increased access to non-EU feedstuffs produced to different standards.

He said that the acceptance of different standards at an Irish and EU level for native and imported grains cannot be tolerated.

Furthermore, Irish tillage farmers have been disproportionately affected by the current CAP due to convergence and greening measures, and he reiterated that any further reduction in supports under CAP 2020 cannot be tolerated.

Political action

Tillage farming has become a vulnerable sector and in order to prevent further decline in the area, urgent political action is needed at local and EU level, Browne concluded.

Read more

Farmers need to be adequately compensated for growing malting barley – IFA

Grain prices: a spring of discontent for farmers over imports

IFA potato report: first earlies due in July
IFA potato market report Tuesday 21/05/19.

Comment: Consumption of potatoes is down this week due to the warm weather conditions. In the UK, trade in the bag market was subdued over the week. However, prices for top-quality product are increasing as supplies become harder to find.

Planting is now complete for most regions. The first crop of earlies can be expected on the market in early June. The planted areas in Belgium and Holland are expected to be higher this year.

Rainfall across the country last week was welcomed for the development of the early crop. This rainfall was also welcomed in mainland Europe last week, but it was not enough to remove concern about water table levels for the season. As we approach another forecasted dry week, irrigation may begin soon in certain parts of the country.

This week, the demand for export to eastern Europe continues, but movement is very dependent on haulage availability. Enquiries have recently started from buyers in the UK with interest in Bakers, Maris Piper and salads.

Grain prices: weather driving recent escalation
International grain markets took a significant upwards swing last week, as planting difficulties in the US began to impact on output forecasts for maize.

What a difference – last week everything was negative as prices fell but they went straight up since then, in the US in particular. Failure to get maize planted, or replanted, there became the major issue. The maize price rise pulled up all other cereals.

Futures prices received a significant boost compared with a week earlier, but, as was the case last week, this is sentiment from a moment in time and unless it translates into a significant hit on production it may have little or no net consequence.

Indeed, that price rise appeared to be reversing by Wednesday, reinforcing the fact it is a very uncertain market dominated by weather.

The price rise has narrowed the gap in futures between current and November prices. This has largely been a result of improved new-crop prices, but one must remain aware of the disconnect between futures and physical prices where South American maize, currently being harvested, is priced to move stocks.

Spot native prices remain similar, with €200 to €203/t for wheat and around €175/t for barley. New-crop positions are up slightly at €183 to €185/t for November wheat and €170 to €173/t for barley. Glanbia price offers this week reflected this rise – €184/t for November wheat and €174/t for barley. On Wednesday, it offered €153 and €142/t for green wheat and barley respectively, also up significantly.

US crop planting progress slowest since 1995
Wet weather problems continue to hinder US planting progress with a reduction in maize acreage likely.

The latest USDA crop progress report showed US maize planting pace was the slowest since 1995.

The report outlines that just under half of the nation’s maize crop (49%) is in the ground.

This falls well below the five-year average of 80%.

Wet weather

Once again, the key maize-producing states around the country are being hardest hit with wet weather, while northern states have had to contend with snow showers and hail.

Planting progress stands at just 14% in Indiana, 56% in Minnesota and 24% in Illinois, for example.

All of these states remain well behind their five-year averages.

Weather forecast

With the weather forecasted to be cool and wet over the next five days, the risk of losing maize acres and yield is increasing.

Many growers have bogged machinery when attempting to plant, with some crops now requiring re-sowing.

As for soya beans, which are typically planted later in the year, just 19% of the crop is now in the ground.

This is around 28% off the average pace.

How has this effected markets?

Read the full analysis on the price improvements and implications for reduced US maize area in this Thursday’s Irish Farmers Journal.

Read more

Hands-free hectare becomes hands-free farm

Listen: promising crops in Co Donegal