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Flash floods cause havoc

Harvest in the Borders is being held up by rain once again as thunderstorms and flash floods cause more havoc.

At Lochton near Coldstream, one storm brought 34.8mm and even more elsewhere. As a result land is waterlogged again and combines will have to wait even longer to continue with winter barley and soon oilseed rape will be ready as well.

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Winter barley in the South of England is reported to be 85% complete with malting barley screenings higher than last year and nitrogens lower.

Quality of the feed barley is mixed with lower specific weight in the six row varieties due to lack of sunshine.

The HGCA trials sites in England show untreated barley average yields down from the five-year average of 7.38 tonnes per ha to 6.15 tonnes per ha, due to disease pressure experienced in this wetter than average year.

Treated yield is 8.88 tonnes per ha similar to the five-year average of 8.89 tonnes per ha over 27 winter barley recommended list sites from Devon to the Scottish Borders and across to Essex.

Compounders continue to use feed barley to avoid having to buy high priced old crop wheat so demand for feed barley is still good, which is being reflected in high feed prices, which is also due to good exports as well.

Malting barley prices remain subdued with modest premiums on top of an excellent feed base. Maltsters are waiting to see how yield and quality of the spring barley harvest will turn out before committing themselves to buying supplies for this coming year, as they currently have high malt stocks in place.

November, 2012, feed wheat futures rose £4.30 on the week to £192 and November, 2013, futures rose £3.80 to £164.80 as global and bad weather issues continue to cause uncertainty as to the outcome of this year's harvest world wide.

The Eurozone crisis also continues with the European Central Bank failing to declare any immediate action on sorting the problems out in the short term and resulting in long term investors choosing to take profits before the next USDA report due out next week.

In France, the wheat harvest is 90% complete and in Russia yields are lower resulting in a cereal crop tonnage between 70-80 4m tonnes in 2011. Exports will be down from 27m tonnes to around 12m tonnes.

In the South of England early wheat quality is extremely mixed with specific weights ranging from 63-80 kilograms per hectolitre.

Ex-farm milling premiums for old crop have increased from around £5 per tonne to around £30 due to concerns for the quality of the 2012 harvest.

The US drought continues with no sign of rain for the next few weeks and in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union the heat continues as well. In the US, 85% of the hard red wheat has been harvested with specific weights averaging 79.9 kg per hectolitre.

The Ukraine has seen wheat yields drop by 0.64 tonnes per ha to 2.59 tonnes per ha and in China a record 114.3m tonnes of wheat have been harvested, which is 3% more than last year and yielding 4.7 tonnes per ha.

The US maize crop has now dropped again to 24% good to excellent compared to 62% last year at this time due to the extended drought conditions and in the Ukraine drought is also affecting their maize crop which will see production reduced to 20m tonnes.

In Germany, oilseed rape harvest is underway with yields 10% above average but in the US oilseed rape crop ratings were reduced to 29% good to excellent compared to 62% last year. Rapeseed production in the EU27 Countries has been increased from 18.2 to 19.0 m tonnes.

Harvest has got underway in the South of England but yields are 0.5 tonnes per ha down on last year but quality appears to be fine but seeds are smaller and oils lower. Oilseed delivered ex farm Scotland is currently up £1 on last week to £369.50.

Bean crops in the North of the UK have suffered badly from lack of pollination and pod set so yields will be down. Delivered UK feed bean prices continue to trade at some £62.64 premium to wheat futures.

The GB Weekly average potato price fell by £6.72 to £197.32, which compares to £141.29 last year at this time.

The Free Market average price fell by £18.85 to £212.18 compared to £93.98 in 2011. In Scotland, crops are two to three weeks behind a normal season and there are problems with quality and yield.

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