International grain prices remain incredibly uncertain, as farmers here continue to feel the brunt of a challenging harvest.

Markets react to information and over the past week, we’ve seen a mix of both positive and negative news for grain prices.

The US weather is being closely watched by the market.

Much of the top US maize-growing area - the Midwest - experienced a heatwave last week. High temperatures and drought during’ growth stages can reduce yields.

However, rain and cooler temperatures are expected to return over August, which could support yield potential.

While markets rose sharply after Russian air strikes damaged the Danube port of Reni last month, they dipped again, as there were fewer reports of new air or missile strikes in Ukraine.

EU forecast

The European Commission reduced its forecasts for EU27 wheat, barley and maize crops. End-of-season wheat stocks (excl Durum) are now pegged 3.1 million tonnes (Mt) lower than the forecast in June and 2.5Mt lower than in 2022/23. Barley stocks are also now expected to contract over 2023/24, instead of expanding.

While this should support prices, Matif (French) wheat for December remained relatively unchanged last week and even slipped back slightly this week at the time of writing.

However, Matif maize for November made gains towards the end of last week, finishing at €242/t.

Matif oilseed rape prices for November dipped last week to close at €458/t, as pressure filtered through from soya bean markets and news from the Black Sea.

However, on Friday, Stratégie Grains revised down its 2023/24 EU rapeseed production figure to 19.3Mt, from the previous forecast of 19.8Mt at the end of June.

This is largely due to initial rapeseed yields being below expectations.

Malting barley

The Free-On-Board (FOB) Creil Planet price contributing to the Boortmalt average price for the harvest dropped to €297/t last week, bringing the average to €276.06/t. A €10/t charge will be deducted from that price. Additionally, at least one Boortmalt assembler is set to deduct a further €5/t if €50/ac of crop protection products were not purchased from that particular assembler.

Native prices

Tirlan’s latest September green price offer came in at €194/t for barley and €210/t for wheat, back over €10 from their last forward offer. This excludes members’ bonuses. This is likely to change yet again by next week and it’s anyone’s guess as to what direction it will take.