Grain prices at home were looking positive over the last week. In Europe, prices stayed relatively steady, while oilseed rape increased significantly.

Matif wheat for December closed on Thursday 28 March at €224/t. On Wednesday afternoon 3 April, it was at €222.50/t, up slightly on Tuesday’s close of €221.75/t.

French wheat looks to be doing OK, with 66% reported to be in good to excellent condition, no change from last week.

However, this is well behind the condition for the same time last year when 94% of wheat was reported to be in good to excellent condition.

The French ministry for agriculture reported spring plantings at 82% complete on 25 March, up from 48% the week before. FOB Creil Sebastian malting barley for harvest 2024 jumped by €12/t to €257/t this week.

Planting delays and crop condition will be important things to watch for wheat and barley prices, but maize will continue to be a threat to prices.

A decline in maize plantings in the US and weather in Brazil are things to keep an eye on.

The first crop progress report of the year from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released on Monday 1 April likely played into this.

Forty-nine percent of winter wheat was reported to be in good condition, with 7% in excellent condition.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in the UK reported that this is the highest early spring level in five years.

Rain is also forecast on the southern plains, which would be good for the crop.

US report

The USDA published its prospective plantings report last week. It estimated maize plantings at 90m acres, a decrease of 5% from 2023.

Soybean area is estimated up for 2024 to 86.5m acres, an increase of 3% from last year.

Wheat in the US is estimated at an area of 47.5m acres, a decrease of 4% from 2023. Cotton area is estimated at 10.7m acres, up 4% from last year.

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape picked up in price again this week. The November price dropped by €3/t last week to €450.75/t. However, on Wednesday afternoon it was at €461.25/t.

Oil prices probably contributed to this as they hit $85/barrel this week for the first time since October 2023.

Native prices

At home, prices have also improved by about €5/t in the past week. Spot barley and wheat are at €210 to 215/t and €215 to €220/t respectively. November barley is also reported at €210 to €215/t, while wheat is higher at €225 to €230/t.