Matif (French) wheat for December fell €10/t last week to close on Friday 19 May at €228.50/t, while on Monday and Tuesday of this week, it hovered around that price, finishing slightly higher on Tuesday at €231.50/t.

French oilseed rape for August dropped below €400/t last week to €395.75/t – a drop of over €20/t in a week. The November price dropped by almost €18/t to €405.50/t. It was at €403.75/t on Tuesday evening.

There are a number of factors at play in the market, most importantly reports on crop outlook. The European Commission released its MARS bulletin this week which monitored crop condition in Europe from 1 April to 14 May.

There was no change to the cereal yield forecast from April’s report. The report stated that the wet spring, which delayed sowing of spring crops and work on winter crops in Ireland, stretched across “a large belt extending from Ireland to Bulgaria and Ukraine”.

Drought continues to affect crops in Spain and Portugal and while some crops in Italy are recovering from drought, some extreme rain has caused severe losses to crops.

Overall reports suggest that grain is not in short supply. The renewal of the Black Sea grain initiative will see grain flow more easily from Ukraine.

Maize is something to keep an eye on. A record safrinha maize crop is being predicted from Brazil for 2022/2023. In the US, corn planting was 81% complete according to the United States Department of Agriculture on Monday 22 May.

This is 6% ahead of the five-year average for the time of year. A large corn crop is expected from the US.

The International Grains Council has increased its 2023/2024 maize production forecast by 9.2 million tonnes, mainly due to forecasts for large crops in China and Brazil.

This large corn crop is likely to offset any declines in grain production.

Malting barley

The Boortmalt average price for harvest stood at €262.83/t on 18 May. The price on that day was €259/t, up €2/t on the previous week. Growers should note that a €10/t charge is set to be taken off this price, bringing it down to €252.83/t.

The harvest price is based on the average of the Free-On-Board (FOB) Creil Planet price every Wednesday from mid-April to mid-September.

Native prices

As prices fall, more will no doubt want to move barley from sheds. However, spot prices for wheat and barley moved down again this week to €245/t and €230/t respectively.

This time last year spot wheat was at its peak when it hit €430/t, so this week’s price is €185/t below this.