Grain prices remained relatively steady over the past week. French oilseed rape prices saw a slight bump last week and into this week.

Matif wheat for December closed last Friday 19 January at €228.75/t and remained at this level on Tuesday evening.

London wheat for November closed the week at £199.75/t and slipped to £198.50/t on Tuesday.

French oilseed rape for August closed last week at €430/t and on Tuesday evening was at €431.25/t.

EU report

The latest crop monitoring report from the European Commission has stated that many countries in northwestern Europe seemed to receive similar weather to Ireland in the past few weeks.

A cold spell was followed by heavy rain, for example in Denmark, an important country for barley production. The UK and Netherlands have seen surplus rainfall levels, which affected the sowing of winter crops.

It is unclear how many Irish farmers were able to plant in the drier spell this month. However, the report stated that some farmers in Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg took advantage of the drier soils.

However, the main weather focus remains on South America where Brazil is planting its second and biggest maize crop.

Conab, a company under the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil, reported that the soya bean harvest was 4.7% complete in the week ending 20 January and maize planting was 5% complete. Some soya bean crops have been badly hit by drought in the country.

EU production

Strategie Grains has reduced its forecast for 2024 EU27 wheat production by 2m tonnes to 122.7m tonnes, mainly due to a reduced area in Germany.

Barley production was forecast by the company up 0.7m tonnes from its December report to 53.4m tonnes in January - up 13% on last year.

Oilseed rape

The bounce in oilseed rape price is most likely linked to the wider oil markets, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) which also attributed the increase to slow EU imports.

Oilseed rape planting is down in Europe and this may help to support markets in the longer term. However, large soya bean supplies could affect this.

Minimum bean prices

If your co-op or merchant is offering a minimum beans price and you are going to plant, then it makes sense to lock into that price.

You won’t be paid any less, but you will be able to avail of a price increase if it comes.