GrainGrain Reports

Grain Council Report March 2021

Grain Market Update 

Feed demand remains strong as the recent wet conditions have ensured no early turn out to grass. 

With the rise in the price of imported feedstuffs, this has created strong demand for scarce local supplies. In the past month feed barley has jumped by €15/t but remains considerably below the price of imported maize. 

Since 2016, Ireland has doubled its import of third country maize, with Brazil becoming the main country of choice for Irish supply. For the last six months of 2020 alone, Ireland imported almost 700,000 tonnes of maize. Ironically, the dependence on these imports with lower environmental and sustainability standards, has not only undermined the Irish tillage sector but, is now contributing to a spike in feed prices as less quantities of native grain are now available. The same applies to protein crops and is another salutary lesson on the need for expanding our local tillage area.  

Forward green prices for barley harvest 2021 have improved to a minimum of €165/t for barley and €175 for wheat. These prices are €20 – €25/t above this time last year. In relation to maize and soymeal, forward prices for next Autumn have increased considerably with the gap between spot and new harvest prices narrowing to €40/t for both. This is positive for local grains as this time last year November maize could be bought for €178/t as opposed to €207/t today.  

November rapeseed prices are also positive at €400/t up €40 on last year. 

The ‘China’ effect continues to have a positive impact on the FOB Creil malting barley price, with the July 2021 price now trading at €215/t. Demand for brewing will be reduced in Ireland this year due to Covid, however, demand for distilling is unaffected and will increase slightly. 

Irish Native / Import Dried Feed Prices 25/02/2021 

  Spot €/t Nov 2021 €/t 
Wheat  245   205-210 
 Feed Barley 215-220 195-200 
FOB Creil Malting Barley  215 
OSR  400 
Maize (Import) 245 207 
Soymeal (Import) 450 410 

International Markets 

Matif wheat front month prices spiked again to €240/t this week with the December price at €200/t. Despite a further revision upwards in wheat supply, prices remain robust due to the demand side. Recent cold weather scares in the US and Russia have also been positive for the market. Crops in Europe are reported to be doing well with much of the Spring planting now underway. With low wheat carryover stocks throughout the world any further shocks on the supply side will certainly drive prices to new highs. 

Delays in the soybean harvest in Brazil are certainly proving positive for the pricing of both soya a and corn. Reports indicate that corn planting in Brazil is seriously delayed with only 35-40% of the Safrinha crop planted as opposed to the yearly average of 65-70 %.With the US accounting for approximately a third of world soybean and corn exports, the decisions around the area and ratios of these crops planted next April and May, will have a big influence on markets. It is predicted that the area will increase, however, this may not be sufficient to satisfy demand and replenish reduced stock piles. 

Activity since last National Council 

  • The IFA president led an IFA delegation to meet minister McConalogue to raise issues concerning the tillage sector. CAP, new straw scheme, substandard grain imports and PPP’s were the main items on the agenda. 
  • IFA has again met DAFM officials to discuss details of the new straw incorporation scheme. In particular we are looking for rape straw and hemp, in addition to headlands being included in the scheme.  
  • There are ongoing meetings with DAFM in relation to the next CAP. The Pillar 1 issues of convergence and eco schemes are currently being discussed. IFA is also looking for an increase in funding for the coupled protein scheme. 
  • A letter has been seen to DAFM Requesting a derogation to use Cruiser SB as a seed treatment on fodder beet in 2021  
  • There are ongoing discussions with Boortmalt regarding intakes and the requirement for less brewing and more distilling barley this season. An online meeting of Wexford growers was held recently  
  • IFA prepared a submission re: Section 3 of the European Communities (Wildlife Act, 1976) (Amendment) Regulations. We are seeking a continuation of the derogation for the control of certain wild birds  
  • A fertilizer survey and subsequent report were undertaken in January. Farmers were encouraged to shop around and not to accept efforts by merchants to force up prices. 
  • Following a number of meetings with Goldcrop, IFA were successful in negotiating an increase on the base feed price for seed suppliers in the north east. 
  • IFA recently met with officials from the DAFM seed section. Brexit implications for seed, blackgrass, inspections and new opportunities in organic seed production were discussed. 
  • IFA has collaborated with UCD regarding research in the use of native grains and sustainability criteria regarding dairy feed rations.  
  • Meetings of the IFA grain committee, and malting barley committee took place online in recent weeks.  
  • IFA attended a meeting of the Teagasc Distilling & Brewing Stakeholder Group. A particular goal of the project will be the assessment of both the potential to produce and to process Irish wheat suitable for use in the distilling sector as a direct replacement for imported maize in Irish whiskey.  
  • Press releases were published to highlight the emphasis on increasing the tillage area in the Ag Climatize report and calling on the trade, to offer strong forward Harvest 2021 prices for Irish grain and protein crops. 
  • There was a meeting of the Cereal Association of Ireland (CAI) to review the IGAS scheme and to discuss the promotion of native grains in feed rations. 

EU/COPA developments 

  • IFA participated in a discussion on the sustainable use Directive (SUD) hosted by the The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in preparation of its information report on the directive. 
  • IFA participated in the Copa.Cogeca phytosanitary working party. DG SANTE updated the WP on phytosanitary issues. The revision of the Sustainable Use Directive and the Bee Guidance document in addition to specific plant protection issues in the different member states were discussed 
  • IFA held a meeting with DG Agri to discuss conditionality issues under the next CAP. The commission confirmed that Greening and the 3-crop rule in its current guise will not be part of the CAP going forward. 

Upcoming Issues/Events 

  • The new CAP is now at a critical stage, with the Trialogues between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament underway. The grain committee will continue to watch developments and lobby for a positive outcome for the tillage sector. 
  • Another meeting with Valeo Foods will be held regarding the use of Irish Milling wheat in local flour production. 
  • IFA is seeking a meeting with DAFM on the TAMS tillage. 
  • There will be a meeting between the ISTA and IFA. 
  • Meetings have been arranged with grain merchants regarding the new intakes for malting barley. 
  • Covid 19 continues to have an impact on the malting barley sector. IFA will continue to raise the issue with government regarding the knock-on effect from the restrictions imposed on the hospitality sector. 
  • The campaign will continue regarding the absence of a level playing field in relation to third country feed imports particularly maize. The lower carbon footprint of native cereals and the tillage sector in general will be promoted. 
  • IFA and the Cereal Association of Ireland (CAI) is continuing to work with Bord Bia and IGAS on a labelling standard regarding the inclusion of native grains and will continue its campaign on greater inclusion of native grains in feed rations. 
Mark Browne Chair Patrick Farrell  Senior Policy Executive 

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