Watch: a US farming experience of a lifetime
The deadline for applications for the ITLUS/Rosenbohm US internship is this Friday.

Applications for the 2018 Irish Tillage Land Use Society/Rosenbohm US Farm Internship will close this Friday, 9 February.

The award will provide up to one season of work experience and accommodation on a large US farm located in northwest Missouri.

The winner will be hosted by the Rosenbohm family who will provide the recipient with practical experience in the production, husbandry and marketing of maize (corn) and soya beans, as well as in the processing of soya bean seed.

Watch last year’s recipient Stephen Robb talk about his experience:

Who can apply?

Applicants must be at least 20-years-old and must also be a resident on the island of Ireland and be/become a member of either the Irish Tillage and Land Use Society (ITLUS) or the Ulster Arable Society (UAS).

Where to apply?

For anyone interested, further details and the application form are available here.

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Want to experience US farming first-hand?

A different world compared with Donegal

Official EU grain harvest forecast back 2.5%
The European Commission's latest agricultural outlook predicts a fall in cereals production this year, but no rise in prices because of large existing stocks.

The EU's wheat harvest, which sets the pace for grain markets across the continent, is expected to be 3% smaller than last year. It is also 3% behind the average of the past five years.

Barley production is forecast to come 2.1% below last year's, and 2.7% below the five-year average.

The forecast for maize sees a 2.3% decrease year-on-year, slightly below the five-year average, but this could yet change as the season develops.

Despite strong global demand, it is premature to anticipate any significant rise of world prices

Overall, the cereals harvest is expected to fall to just under 299,000t this year, 2.5% behind last year's and 2.8% lower than the five-year average. This results from a combined drop in sown area across the EU for the fourth year in a row and lower yields than last year.

"Nonetheless, EU and global cereal stocks are ample and despite strong global demand, it is premature to anticipate any significant rise of world prices," the Commission commented.

Oilseeds are seen to produce 4.6% less than last year, but this is against a "bumper" 2017 harvest. Oilseeds are expected to deliver 1.6% more than the five-year average. This is driven by significant drops in both rapeseed and sunflower production.

The official forecast follows that of the EU-wide farming body Copa-Cogeca earlier this week, which saw a 6% drop in cereal and oilseed production due to extreme weather conditions.

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Tillage management: early harvest brings other opportunities

Grain markets differ depending on price drivers

Improved Boortmalt/IFA malting barley price deal
There will no longer be any deductions to the MATIF index in Boortmalt's price, according to the IFA.

IFA malting barley committee chair Mark Browne announced a new price agreement with Boortmalt based on MATIF December futures.

Under the agreement, the green malting barley price is to be calculated as follows:

  • If the MATIF price is €180/t or below, €10 is added.
  • If the MATIF price is between €180/t and €190/t, the malting barley price is €190.
  • If the MATIF price is above €190/t, the malting barley price is the same as MATIF.
  • A previous price structure announced in March included deductions to the MATIF price if it was above €170/t.

    This was sharply criticised by some farmers, including members of the Irish Grain Growers group, who said the spring agreement between the IFA and Boortmalt was less attractive than offers from other merchants.

    By contrast, the new price structure guarantees that the malting barley price is always equivalent or superior to the MATIF price.

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    For example, up until last week, the latest MATIF December price of €181/t would have resulted in a Boortmalt malting barley price of €166/t, offering little premium over feed barley prices. Monday's agreement changes the picture by increasing this to €190/t.

    An Irish Farmers Journal comparison of the March and July agreement shows that the new price is higher at any MATIF level.

    The IFA will hold a growers' meeting at the Dolmen Hotel in Carlow next Monday 9 July at 8.30pm to explain the new price structure.

    Additional reporting by Andy Doyle

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    Malting price alterations - a move in the right direction