The last week of September saw some wet spells which resulted in flooding in some areas and water lying in the fields which is a sight not seen for some time now.

The earlier rain was welcomed as land was becoming quite dry and winter sown crops were ready for some moisture.

My reliable source of rainfall details, John Aitchison, at Lochton tells me we had 80.9mm or 3.18 inches in September, of which 58.9mm fell in the last nine days of the month, to give a total for the year of 517.4mm or 23.7 inches in the Borders, but from other reports much more rain was had in the northern regions of Scotland last month.

We are now in the last month before Brexit is due to take place and markets are quite nervous as no-one really knows what is going to happen after October 31. Demand for wheat supplies to UK ports saw prices rally to a near six-week high at the end of last week.

This was also the case in Europe where the euro hit a 28-month low against the US dollar and the EU had exported more than 5.6m tonnes of wheat by September 22, which is more than a million tonnes more than last year at the same time.

The EU commission recently raised their monthly common wheat crop estimate from 142.7m tonnes up to 145m tonnes.

The larger EU crop means there is a larger exportable surplus that needs to be exported and that tonnage is estimated at around 25.7m tonnes, almost 5m tonnes more than was achieved last season.

To date EU export pace is behind that which it needs to be to meet this target, which as previously mentioned was 5.6m tonnes, but even at the current pace of exports, they will still be one million tonnes short of their target at the year end.

Here in the UK the AHDB has released harvest figures for 2019 and based on the average yield results of their final harvest report they now have estimates regarding UK production for this harvest.

Wheat at 16.19m tonnes is the largest wheat crop since 2015, barley at 7.53m tonnes is the largest crop on record, oats at 1.04m tonnes is also the largest crop on record and oilseed rape at 1.77m tonnes is the smallest crop since 2004.

The large wheat and barley crops will push the UK into a net-export trade position for both crops and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit is concerning when we face a large exportable surplus.

A well supplied market, both in the UK and Europe continues to pressure prices and Brexit uncertainty will also weigh on prices with barley needing to remain competitive in non-EU countries.

The UK typically sends around 90% of its wheat exports to Europe, according to HMRC data. The lack of concrete information surrounding export tariffs has hampered large purchases of grain for export post-October with many buyers not wanting to take the risk.

The latest corn return figures of September 19, detail 51,100 tonnes of feed wheat purchased for October movement both for domestic and export markets.

This is the largest October volume since 2014. Conversely, 9800 tonnes have been booked for November-December which is 2400 tonnes below the five-year average for this period, an average that includes the low production seasons of 2017-18 and 2018-19.

From Thursday to Thursday last week, the dollar strengthened causing the pound to drop 1.61% and Brexit uncertainty has also weakened the pound against the euro.

As at September 30, the Euro to the pound exchange rate was set for the 2019 BPS payment scheme at one euro equating to £0.89092 which is 0.21% down on 2018.

The pound has been heading downhill for some time, reaching its lowest value against the euro since 2009 in early August. This supported physical UK prices somewhat, counteracting the drops in Paris futures at times.

However, since August 9, the pound has strengthened by more than 5% and this has dampened any price increases, counteracting recent Paris futures gains.

November 2019 Liffee feed wheat futures stand at £138 compared to £164 at this time last year, and May 2020 futures are around £143 per tonne compared to £169 12 months ago.

Physical delivered feed wheat into Yorkshire is worth £139.50, up £1.50 on last week, and bread wheat delivered is worth £165.50, up £1.

The lack of clarity around Brexit continues to pressure UK markets and Ex-farm sales have ramped up pre-November, signalling a want to move grain before Brexit. Conversely, sales for movement in November and December are behind normal.

The falling value of sterling could help support UK physical prices but Brexit uncertainty will likely be an overriding driver of prices.

Prices could also be affected by weather issues around the world and in Australia forecasters expect at least three months of hot, dry weather and they see the whole country experiencing hotter than normal conditions.

It seems likely wheat their crop estimate will continue to fall as a result, with some people suggesting a wheat crop of 17m tonnes which is a significant reduction on their record crop in 2016-17 of 35m tonnes.

Argentina is needing rain but they are looking at a wheat crop reaching a record 21m tonnes and Russia is indicating a 3m tonne increase to 75m tonnes.

The International Grains Council published their September world balance sheet last week but made minimal changes. World production was left unchanged at 764m tonnes, up 31m tonnes on last year. Consumption increased by 1m tonnes, leading to an increase of 1m tonnes in carry out stocks to 272m tonnes and this is 6m tonnes up on last year.

With a record UK barley crop this year this means there is a large surplus to export and feed barley prices have been under pressure to be priced competitively on the global stage.

The large crop size has put pressure on malting premiums as well with ex-farm malting prices only£13.30 above feed values two weeks ago.

This is the lowest premium for this point in the season for the past five years and below levels in 2015-16. The initial Cereal Quality Survey results suggest that nitrogen levels are coming in lower than in 2018 which was 1.73% and this year 1.65% so far.

Screenings are coming in slightly higher than normal and there has been some concerns over low bushel weights but generally quality appears to be looking good.

The Maltsters Association of Great Britain has stated its members are wanting to purchase 1.9m tonnes of malting barley this season.

While this is slightly up from final purchases over the past two seasons it would be insufficient to absorb the extra tonnage that is likely to be offered for sale.

The barley market within the EU seems amply supplied with production expected to reach over 60m tonnes for the first time since 2015-16 and has resulted in lower feed barley prices across the EU.

Exports are continuing throughout the UK at a high pace before the current Brexit deadline at the end of this month.

Feed barley cargoes are mainly heading to Spain and Portugal with a smaller number going to Ireland while malting barley is going to the usual destinations in mainland Europe.

Global rapeseed supply remains tight for 2019-20 and poor weather across Canada could see crop losses and delays to harvest and in Australia drought conditions have reduced their canola production forecast to the second lowest level since 2010-11.

In previous years the EU has imported Canadian and Australian canola so imports may have to come from other sources, especially when the UK has the lowest oilseed rape production this year since 2004 and oilseed rape delivered Erith was up £4 to £346.50 for November.