Meat & Livestock News

Wheat Market Faces Downward Pressure: An Analysis of Current Trends

TORRE SANTA SUSANNA / ITALY – AUGUST 2019: Inside an old wheat mill producing flour

In recent times, the wheat market has experienced a downturn, with UK feed wheat futures for November 2023 closing at £184.80/t, a decline of £1.20/t from the previous day. The futures for November 2024 also saw a dip, settling at £201.30/t after a decrease of £0.80/t.

Internationally, wheat markets are under strain. Both Chicago and Paris wheat futures have seen a drop in prices. Factors contributing to this include beneficial rainfall in Argentina, which has eased concerns over wheat supply, and a slowdown in demand within Europe.

In contrast, Paris rapeseed futures for November 2023 rose by €6.00/t, closing at €411.50/t. The futures for November 2024 also saw an increase, ending at €447.00/t. These gains in the rapeseed market can be attributed to positive trends in Chicago soybean oil and Malaysian palm oil.

Additionally, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have led to a 2% surge in Brent crude oil futures, which closed at $90.13/barrel.

A significant development has emerged from Barva Invest Consultancy, which reports that Ukraine has halted the new Black Sea grain corridor due to threats from Russian warplanes. However, as of now, the grain market hasn’t shown a significant reaction to this news.

John O’Connell, a farmer outside Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, has been proactive in implementing sustainable measures on his farm.

These measures have led to increased productivity and profitability. Some of the steps he has taken include:

  • Soil pH Optimisation: Over the past 7-8 years, John has addressed soil pH levels, raising them from 5.7 to an optimal 6.3. This has resulted in improved grass yield and quality.
  • Soil Nutrient Enhancement: Efforts are underway to optimise phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) levels. The use of specific fertilisers has been instrumental in this regard.
  • Protected Urea Usage: John has adopted protected urea as his primary nitrogen source since 2018, finding it more cost-effective than other alternatives.
  • Efficient Slurry Management: John has refined his slurry application methods, maximising nutrient value and allowing for quicker post-application grazing.
  • Chemical Nitrogen Reduction: John reduced his chemical nitrogen usage by 21% between 2021 and 2022 without compromising grass growth.
  • Grassland Management: Improved grazing infrastructure and consistent grass measuring have led to enhanced grass quality and yield.
  • Health Initiatives: A comprehensive health plan has been introduced, focusing on lameness prevention, strategic dosing, and a tailored vaccination programme.
  • Breeding Enhancements: John utilises the EuroStar index for ram selection, aiming to reduce days to slaughter.
  • Clover Integration: John incorporates clover early into his swards, ensuring optimal pH levels and reduced chemical nitrogen applications.