Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Trader challenges IFA stance on grain price

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

TheRE were mixed messages on grain prices this week, with the IFA predicting a market recovery, while a leading cereals trader warned that a further fall was possible.

Pointing out that the US maize crop continued to be downgraded, the IFA predicted that EU and Irish grain prices would strengthen further over the coming weeks.

But speaking at last week's Teagasc Tillage Forum, John Bergin of cereal traders R&H Hall warned that the corn harvest in the US may lead to more downward pressure on grain prices here at home. However, he said any movement would not be significant.

At the moment €155/t is being quoted for green wheat and €188/t for dried wheat. Dried barley is making €174/t, while barley off the combine is being bought for €140/t.

Mr Bergin told the forum that this year's harvest prices were on the average for the last five years.

However, the IFA was more optimistic for prices in the short-term. "Irish grain prices firmed further in recent days as the US maize and soybean yields are revised lower with each passing week. World prices continue to edge higher," said the IFA's John Delany.

Mr Delany added that rising soybean prices were lending support to demand for maize and wheat.

"Irish growers who tipped and stored grain during the harvest are achieving €7/t to €10/t over official green quotes, in addition to free transport," Mr Delany maintained.

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"The continuing strong demand for farm-to-farm grain has also helped to raise the floor price for native grain this harvest," he said. "Farmers should continue to hold out for increased prices as the market has the potential to rise further given the deteriorating health of the US maize and soybean crops," Mr Delany advised.

"The changing sentiment towards grains is being driven by crop fundamentals and this should see prices rise further over the coming weeks as the harvest moves to a close in the Northern Hemisphere. Irish grain farmers should not lock in at the current price offers as there is significantly more available in private deals."

Meanwhile, the last week has seen the harvest for this year effectively completed.

Irish Independent