Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

'Con' warning over selling price of grain

Majella O'Sullivan and Declan O'Brien

GRAIN growers have been advised not to be "conned" into selling below the going rate, as prices for both green and dried grain hold firm.

IFA grain chairman Noel Delany said dried and green prices had held during the past week on the back of increased competition from buyers and the realisation that grain yields are back by 0.3 to 0.4t/acre right across the country.

"Direct demand from livestock farmers has increased as the trade and compound feed mills have hiked ration prices by €20/t, with further price rises in the pipeline," Mr Delany said.

He said the floor price for green barley had now moved to €140/t, with feed wheat at €155/t.

"Most growers are in a position to achieve €145/t to €150/t for barley, with a number of deals reaching €154/t for substantial lots," he added.

"On the feed wheat front, growers are cutting deals up to €162/t green (20pc moisture excluding VAT). Up to €190/t is available for dried barley for September collection.

"Dried wheat prices have moved out to €200/t for November/December collection."

Mr Delany said farm-to-farm trade had intensified on the back of warnings from the compound feed trade that rations would increase by €50/t this season.

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Meanwhile, Dairygold confirmed on Wednesday that it was making an "on account" payment of €130/t, subject to quality adjustments, for wheat, barley and oats.

In a letter to all grain suppliers, Sean O'Sullivan, the general manager for agri operations, said Dairygold would continue to monitor market returns on an ongoing basis with a view to establishing a fair and equitable price for the 2010 crop.

A spokesperson for Glanbia said it had no immediate plans to set its price for on account grain.

"It's not imminent, at least not for the next few weeks, because there's still a lot of movement out there," the spokesperson said.

Harvest progress has been slow during the past week, as heavy showers disrupted progress. Many of the later-sown spring barley crops have also been slow to ripen.

However, up to 90pc of the harvest has been cut in some areas of the south midlands, south and south-east.

In the north midlands, where winter wheat is the predominant crop, only 25 to 30pc of the harvest has been completed. Yields are variable, with most merchants indicating that tonnes are back by 0.3t to 0.5t/acre.

According to the latest IFA harvest report, spring barley yields are ranging from under 2t/ac, with some exceptional crops yielding up to 3.3t/ac and the average closer to 2.4t/ac.

Winter barley yields averaged 3.1t, but winter wheat yields have been disappointing, ranging from 2.7t/ac to 4.8t/ac. Winter oats turned in a respectable yield average of 2.8t, despite one of the coldest winters in recent decades.

International grain prices remain volatile, with the trade strongly influenced by developments in Russia and Ukraine.

Private analysts predict that Russia will be a net importer of grain this year and the regional power is putting pressure on neighbouring countries to ban exports.

Ukraine has moved to implement export quotas of 2.5mt for wheat and barley combined (wheat 1.5mt and barley 1mt) from September 1 until the end of December.

However, rigorous inspections by Ukrainian customs officials have effectively blocked exports.

International brokers and shippers have moved to source US and EU wheat as Black Sea sellers fail to honour contracts. Egypt is considering relaxing rules to allow grain imports from Britain, as it moves to source 8m tonnes.

While cereal-price volatility has calmed in recent days, US maize-corn prices have jumped considerably, as export demand increases and yields from the first of the US harvest come in below expectations.

Meanwhile in Britain, there have been reports of sprouting in Oakley and Viscount wheat crops.

Irish Independent