Grain Reports

Grain Council Report March 2023

Activity in tillage fields has commenced earlier than normal in 2023, due to mild and dry weather conditions throughout February. Spring bean sowings appear to be strong, the revised Protein Aid payments for 2023 and lower fertiliser costs associated with the crop are informing grower decisions. Dairygold are the first merchant to offer a price for beans, with a minimum of €285/t on offered for contracted crops.  

International Grain Markets  

Global grain markets have continued a generally volatile trend since the last report provided to Council. MATIF wheat futures for March 23 were trading in the range of €300-305/t in December but have dropped to €280/t at the end of February (see graph below). The primary driver of sentiment in the market remains events in the Black Sea. Grain exports continue to move from Ukraine under the UN brokered deal which expires on the 19th of March. Markets appear to be optimistic that a new deal will be brokered in the coming weeks. The record Russian wheat crop continues to weigh on and out compete other exporting nations. French wheat was the most expensive at the recent GASC wheat tender and this has pushed MATIF values to 4-week lows on Wednesday February 22nd (Source: AHDB).  

Native dried wheat demand is reported as sluggish and even slow by industry sources, this despite a significant drop in prices since Christmas.Spot, nearby wheat is fetching approximately €290/t to the trade, prices direct to end users are reported as slightly higher. Barley prices are €10-15/t lower than wheat. Imported maize is now more expensive than native wheat and barley and is costing between €300-310/t depending on the day. For new crop cereals, prices offered have remained stable in February. On Wednesday February 22nd, Tirlan offered €234/t for green wheat and €224/t for green barley for September 2023.  

Figure 1: MATIF Wheat Futures March and November 23, correct as of 24.02.23

Oilseed markets remain stronger in sentiment. Soya markets remain buoyant due to the ongoing drought in Argentina which has reduced crop estimates for this season. However, the Brazilian crop being harvested at the present is the largest crop on record at 153MMT and this can be expected to weigh on prices in the coming months. The area planted to soybeans in the USA in 2023 is also expected to be very high.  

Activity Since Last National Council 

  • The National Grain Committee visited the Tiraln Grain Innovation Centre in Kilkenny on the 19th of January, a committee meeting was held in the afternoon. 
  • The next Grain Committee meeting was provisionally scheduled for March 8th 2023 but this will now be held on March 15th in the Farm Centre. 
  • IFA were represented at the recent tillage stakeholder meeting in Athy which was organised under the Climate KIC EU policy programme.  
  • The Grain Policy Executive prepared a detailed submission to the public consultation launched by DAFM on the EU Commission Sustainable Use of Pesticides proposals. Several grain committee members also submitted applications. A follow up meeting with PRCD in Backweston will be sought in the coming months to discuss the status of the SUR proposals.  
  • A submission was also prepared for the public consultation launched by NPWS on the control of Wild Bird Declarations. 

Future Events 

  • A meeting with the Cereal and Horticulture representatives from both the Ulster Farmers Union and IFA is due to take place on March 1st in Dundalk.  
  • Liam MacHale and Max Potterton will represent IFA in Paris on March 2nd/3rd at a meeting of other European grain associations at the SIA Event.  

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