I'm Back! Early Thoughts....

I'm back in Blighty and it's business as usual ie it's raining. OK, to be fair it's been a decent couple of days here in North Yorkshire since I stepped off the plane. It would seem that the harvest is maybe a little further advanced than I'd expected from my ivory tower on the Costa.

Certainly, if you farm in the south east you seem to have done rather well for yourself. Some reports I read over the weekend talked of farmers "wrapping up their wheat harvest" and "quality much better than last year... I don't know anyone who's disappointed" etc.

Draw a very broad line from say Devon up to North Yorks and things don't appear to be quite so rosy. One report even said "worse than last year" - now that has to be bad! Generally though it would seem that things aren't quite that bad.

ADAS reckon that winter barley is about 60% cut nationally, with OSR harvesting at a similar level. Frontier say that "milling quality is good, with proteins looking better than a year ago. At this stage there is little damage to hagberg."

On the Continent Agritel, say that the French wheat crop could now come in at 38.4 MMT, and the association of German farm cooperatives (DRV), now estimating the 2009 German wheat crop at 26.6 MMT. Both these figures are higher than early season estimates due to better than anticipated yields.

So we don't appear to have a shortage of wheat again this season, lets hope that demand holds up. At least French wheat has started making inroads into the Egyptian market again, after months in the wilderness to cheaper Russian wheat.

It will be interesting to see what the quality of Black Sea grain is like this season after drought in Ukraine and Russia.

Looking at the week ahead, the news will likely be dominated by the USDA's latest stab at the global supply and demand numbers, plus an unscheduled reappraisal of US corn acres for 2009. As we have learnt recently from them, expect the unexpected. We can anticpate some profit-taking ahead of that, which may support corn as shorts unwind their positions.

The dollar seems to be back on a firmer footing after good jobs numbers last week, prompting some analysts to talk of the US being on the brink of economic recovery.

I see that sugar is continuing to go through the stratosphere, London white is currently $19.20/tonne higher at $556.40/tonne to another new all-time high. I did pick up a few extra sachets at Malaga airport, first come, first served!