UK Wheat Closes Sharply Higher

EU wheat futures closed up Friday, with UK futures sharply higher on the outlook for a significantly lower crop in 2009.

Paris May milling wheat closed up EUR1.75 at EUR137.50/tonne, whilst London May feed wheat ended up GBP4.25 at GBP112.00/tonne.

Traders are starting to focus on a large reduction in the size of the UK crop in the coming season.

With farmers reporting backward winter wheat is emerging from dormancy in relatively poor condition. A combination of late planting and cold and wet soil looks set to slash UK production to around 14mmt, maybe less.

Defra say that as a whole 14% less wheat has gone into the ground in England, with plantings in the west and the north most reduced. Overall 1.635m ha of wheat has gone into the ground in England. "Up north" things are even worse, 22% less has been planted in Scotland, they say.

With Cerestar's plant in Manchester having switched from maize to wheat in April last year, and the Ensus plant in Teeside set to be fully operational by harvest this year, there is 2 million tonnes more domestic wheat demand that didn't exist twelve months ago from thos two plants alone.

And here we are, now facing a crop some 3.5mmt lower, and that is only IF we manage a decent yield of 8mt/ha. Just suppose yields are below average, as I expect they will be?

The last time we planted a crop of 1.635m ha was in 2001, that year production was just 11.58mmt. Let's hope we do end up carrying old crop into new, it looks like we're gonna need it.