News Bytes

06/09/13 -- It's a grim old day here up in North Yorkshire today, although the rain was certainly needed (unless you've got a bit of wheat or spring barley/OSR left to cut). It will undoubtedly be welcomed for newly sown winter OSR. Thoughts will also be turning to planting winter wheat, and a fair bit more of that is likely to go in than last year judged on current conditions.

Morning markets are mostly a bit higher, with Nov 13 London wheat up 75p as I type, although that's still GBP2.25/tonne down on the week. Nov 13 Paris wheat is flat-lining at EUR0.25/tonne higher for a net gain of half a euro versus last Friday. Yawn. The strong pound has hit London wheat this week. The continued brisk pace of EU exports is supporting Paris wheat.

FranceAgriMer have this morning raised their estimate for the French wheat crop from "in excess of 36 MMT" to a more precise 36.68 MMT, up 3% on last year. Much better yields in the north of the country are behind the rise. Wheat yields in Picardie are said to be averaging 9.11 MT/ha versus a FranceAgriMer forecast of 8.37 MT/ha as recently as July.

Romanian wheat has also yielded above expectations this year, with the local trade organisation ARCPA saying yields have averaged around 4.0 MT/ha, up more than 50% versus only 2.6 MT/ha in last year's drought-hit harvest. No wonder then that they've been so aggressive in the recent Egyptian tenders.

Talking of whom, the USDA attaché in Cairo says that recent Egyptian purchases mean that they've got enough wheat bought to last them through to Jan 2014. They'll start harvesting their next crop around April time.

Russia's grain harvest bumbles along at 63.9 MMT off 58.9% of the combinable crop area. Wheat accounts for 40.8 MMT of that, off 59.6% of plan, with yields up 41.5% at 2.73 MT/ha. They've also harvested 12.7 MMT of barley off 68.7% of plan, along with 493 TMT of corn (off 4.2% of plan) and 905 TMT of sunseed (5.2%).

IKAR peg the Russian grain harvest at 89.7 MMT, including 51.9 MMT of wheat, 14.7 MMT of barley and 9.92 MMT of corn. They see exports at 21.5 MMT, including 15.5 MMT of wheat, 3 MMT of corn and 2 MMT of barley. A larger than normal proportion of this year's wheat crop will only be of feed grade which will limit exports along with sluggish demand and tough competition, they say.

Kazakhstan has harvested 4.02 MMT of grains off 21.2% of the planned area, with average yields so far up 61.4% on last year at 1.2 MT/ha.

Planting of the 2013/14 Argentine corn crop is underway, despite the dry conditions.

A Bloomberg survey puts 2013 US corn yields at 153.9 bu/acre, up 25% on last year, and not too far below the USDA's August estimate of 154.4 bu/acre. The same survey sees soybean yields at 41.2 bu/acre, up a more modest 4% on last year and 1.4 bu/acre below the USDA's August estimate.

Overall the US 2013 corn crop is estimated at an average of 13.641 billion bushels (record), a tad lower than the USDA's August number (13.763 billion), but 26.5% more than last year's disaster. The average for the US 2013 soybean crop is 3.134 billion bushels versus the USDA at 3.255 billion last month. That would be a 4% rise on output in 2012.