With a relatively settled recent spell of weather but with some high winds and rain forecast for later this week, this has allowed the cereal harvest to get tidied up and potato lifting to progress well.

Good seed beds have been prepared for autumn sowing and winter oilseed rape in the ground is looking well which makes for a good start to harvest next year.

The most recent news that the US is about to impose import tariffs on $200bn worth of goods from China and the Chinese response that they will do the same with US goods, could well see more price volatility as this dispute escalates and would most likely see prices drop as a result.

The recent USDA report added 3.4m tonnes of wheat to give a total now of 733m tonnes of wheat produced world-wide following larger than expected crops in Russia, Kazakhstan and India but wheat production is still down 25m tonnes year-on-year.

The USDA forecast Australian wheat production down by 2m tonnes to 20m tonnes and Canada down by 1m tonnes to 31.5m tonnes. The weather is showing no signs of improvement in Australia with forecasts still dry for the next few weeks at least, and 20m tonnes of wheat in Australia would be an 11-year low and limit Australian wheat exports to below 16m tonnes and well below their 2016-17 record of 31.8m tonnes.

Forecasters have put global cereal production for 2018-19 at 2587.5m tonnes which means that global production remains at a three-year low.

Global wheat production has seen a marked decline due to poor weather in Australia, China, and Russia. Additionally, dry summer conditions in several northern EU countries have resulted in the lowest EU wheat production levels since 2012-13. An expected increase of maize animal feed in 2018-19 is expected to more than offset the expected reductions in feed of major cereals such as wheat, barley and sorghum.

Forecasts for global cereal stocks in 2018-19 are at a four-year low of 741.8m tonnes with global wheat stocks falling by 12m tonnes since July and global wheat stocks are estimated at 252.3m tonnes

The UK wheat Ha for this past year has increased for the first time since 2014 to 1.67m Ha and if we take last year’s average yield of 8.1 t/ha this would result in a 13.5m tonne wheat crop for 2018.

At the end of June, 4% less wheat was held in UK store by merchants, ports and co-ops than last year. A sharp drop in home-grown wheat stocks of 12% is only partially compensated for by higher imported wheat stocks which were up 22% and UK supplies will remain below average into 2018-19 unless imports rise.

The liffe feed wheat futures for November 2018 fell from £174.60 down to £172.15 last week, and this week down again to £171.50. Last week bread milling wheat ex farm dropped by £3.70 to £182.50, feed wheat was down £3.70 to £168.70 and feed barley was down £3.10 to £163.80.

Following the Vivergo closure of their Hull plant recently, due to a difficult trading environment and delays in the implementation of E10 in the UK, this saw prices ease, especially in the northern regions where delivered prices were £7 higher than in the South of England.

The closure has seen a demand in feed beans as the lack of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles which is a mid-range protein feed source and needs to be replaced with alternatives such as feed beans.

The English oilseed rape area in 2018 was estimated up by 8% from last year and is the first increase in area since 2012 following six consecutive years of decline and reflects the more favourable planting conditions in the autumn of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.

UK oilseed prices have fallen as rape delivered Erith was down £7 to £328.50 which was due to firmer sterling and a weaker European market.

The latest report last week for global soybean production by the USDA projected a tonnage of 369.3m tonnes which is 32.5m tonnes up from last year which is largely due to an increase in US yields resulting in an 8% increased tonnage from last season. This leaves the global soybean ending stocks projection for 2018-19 at 108.3m tonnes, the highest level on record.

Another factor which will not help prices is that China has stated that they will only require 84m tonnes of imported soybeans compared with the USDA estimate of 94m tonnes and with the recent imported goods tariff issues being raised again it will be interesting to see how all this resolves itself in the future.

Global maize production in 2018-19 is now forecast at 1069m tonnes due in part to record yields in the US of 11.38 t/ha which is 3% higher than in 2017-18 and produced a total of 376.6m tonnes.

As a result, global ending stocks are now put at 157m tonnes but still 37.1m tonnes below last season.

This extra tonnage has eased the tightness in world grain markets and puts pressure on prices. Also, with this record US maize harvest and increased exportable surplus it is possible that we could see increased US maize imports to the UK this season.