Over the five months to the end of September, the average rainfall here in the Borders at Lochton Farm was 47 mm, or nearly two inches per month – in October, it's been 106.3 mm, or four than four inches of rain with only three days when no rain fell!

As we are all very aware, the COP 26 event in Glasgow has been going on over the past two weeks highlighting all the issues that mankind has been held responsible for. Unless we do something, then a lot of land is going to be in the sea and temperatures are going to rise to a degree that will see large areas of dried up wasteland with no crops being able to be grown.

The upshot of it all is that, unless we change, we will all be in some sort of bother in the future unless these problems are tackled head on.

Read more: The Gleaner: High premiums for next year's malting barley

The past seven years have been the hottest on record and the rate at which sea levels are rising is accelerating. The average global temperature from 2002 to 2021 was 1.01°C above pre-industrial levels, while 2021 itself has averaged 1.09°C higher.

Scientists are warning us that the world is on course to warm by a catastrophic 3°C, and this why they are trying to find a way to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C.

This year is likely to be the fifth to seventh hottest year since records began in 1850 and in 2015 the average temperature was 1.18°C above the average and last year it was the hottest on record at 1.28°C above the average of 1.09°C.

Sea levels have increased from an average of 2.1mm a year between 1993-2000, to 4.4mm between 2013-2021, mostly due to the faster loss of ice from glaciers and ice sheets.

This has all led to global weather issues. Canada, as well as other countries, suffered from extreme drought and very low yields this past year and that has seen some futures prices reaching contract highs over this past week or so.

November, 2021, Liffee feed wheat futures have been up to £218.35 and currently stand at £213.25, while May, 2022, futures were at £227.10 but now back to £222 per tonne having risen every day from October 21 to November 3.

Current nearby and November, 2022, new crop futures prices are near the highs experienced in 2012 when nearby new crop, November, 2013, peaked at £225.45 and £199 per tonne, respectively, on November 29, 2012 – but from that point prices started to trail off.

The reasons for high prices at that time were export restrictions from Ukraine, strong global demand and drought in the US impacting winter wheat crop development. These issues are similar today, except that the export restrictions are in Russia.

Wheat opening stocks in the UK are at their lowest level this century and the outlook continues to be tight throughout 2021-22. However, the total availability of wheat next year is forecast up by 18% from last year and increased production will counteract reduced opening stocks and imports will be down on last year.

Two bioethanol plants in the UK are also due to come back on stream early next year and this will see increased wheat usage on top of increased demand for animal feed, though total usage by flour millers is currently forecast as similar to last year.

The current spot high prices of wheat and rapeseed will be helping offset the impacts of inflation and this could have greater implications for the cereal and oilseed enterprises for the 2022-23 marketing year.

In the last year, from September, 2020, to September, 2021, November 2021 wheat futures have risen by £48.60 per tonne and Paris rapeseed futures for November, 2021, are up by £216.45 per tonne.

Over the same period, estimated farming input costs for a cereal and oilseed rape farm enterprise have increased by 19.34% – due mainly to fuel and fertiliser price increases. Over the same period, red diesel increased from 46.8ppl to 67.12ppl and increasing.

So, strong energy and natural gas prices will contribute to inflationary input costs for harvest 2022, but new crop prices are not nearly as high as the current spot highs with November, 2022, futures prices, for example, currently at £196.50 per tonne.

Brent crude oil prices dropped to $81.99 per barrel last week which is the lowest since October 7 and if this continues it could reduce global demand for ethanol and biodiesel. However, US ethanol production at the end of October was 1106m barrels per day and the weekly total was the second highest on record.

Wheat futures prices have risen higher by 25% since early September due to weather issues in Canada, US and Russia reducing output. It is important to see how the harvest in Australia progresses as the 2021-22 global wheat stocks are 35% of annual stock- to-use demand – the lowest since 2015-16.

Australia is looking at a wheat production of 31.5m tonnes, or its third highest on record, but Canada is forecasting its smallest crop since 2007-08 at 21m tonnes which would be 40% down on last year.

Russia has now forecasted a wheat crop of around 72m tonnes – previously reported as being around 81m tonnes – and again this is due to the impact of dry weather affecting yield potential.

The prolonged dry period is already having an impact on next year’s crop with delays in planting in many regions in Russia already reporting that only 70% of their winter crop has been planted due to having only received less than half of the average rainfall. That is also the case in the Ukraine.

The EU was expecting to have exported 11m tonnes of wheat by the end of October and Ukraine was quoted as having exported 12.4m tonnes over the same period. There appears to be no slowing of international wheat demand, as Saudi Arabia confirmed a purchase of 1.3m tonnes – double that expected. This was the catalyst for a further futures price rally.

Russia’s export tax is set to rise again from November 10 to $69.90 per tonne and this is contributing to slower exports from Russia, further reducing the availably of wheat to the world market.

Last year, the Southern Hemisphere experienced a lot of adverse weather, but rain has helped crops this time. Argentina is looking to produce 19.8m tonnes of wheat – up from 17.6m tonnes last year – which could release exports of 13.5m tonnes.

Maize planting in Argentina is almost 30% complete and will see a crop of 55m tonnes, which would be 5m tonnes up on last year and there is some rain forecast which will be welcome.

The US soyabean harvest is going well, with the USDA reporting 73% harvested as of October 24, which is ahead of their five-year average.

There have been continual price rises for oilseed rape, with new contract highs again and prices are around £50 higher than they were a month ago. During the last four weeks, EU prices rose by 8% but US soya had not moved, meaning that soyabeans are currently worth £180 less than OSR and puts the price of rape oil over soya oil at a premium of £255 per tonne.

Canada is still coming to terms with its very low canola (OSR) production and the crop is also affected by low oil content at 41.2%, which is 2.1% lower than last year.

Even with the drop in production in Canada, this year’s seven major oilseeds will see a tonnage of 599.7m tonnes, or an increase of 24.6m tonnes, which would be 6m tonnes more than is consumed resulting in a build-up in stocks.

The UK barley market is currently quiet with lower demand at present, even with UK prices competitive for the export trade, both sea freight and road transport issues remain difficult to organize due to a lack of available ships and lorries.

UK malting barley prices have eased this past week, but price premium remains in place and we have the cheapest barley in Europe, but again transport issues are limiting movement.

The UK barley balance is 11% tighter than last season at 2m tonnes due to a smaller crop, even despite a drop in animal feed demand because of the smaller price discount to wheat.

At the end of October, spot ex-farm barley prices were just £11.60 below those for feed wheat on average across the UK. Last season, barley averaged £44 per tonne below wheat and at times the gap was as large as £54.30 per tonne.

As a result, barley accounted for 40% of all grain such as wheat, barley, maize and oats, being fed to animals. This year, the smaller price gap will cut the amount of barley fed to animals and at current oat prices, we could see an increase in the amount of oats used in feed rations.

Last season, 397,000 tonnes of oats were used, which is the highest since 1999-2000. Another large oat crop this year amounting to 1.1m tonnes means ex-farm feed oats are currently £46.40 per tonne cheaper than feed barley and £58 cheaper than feed wheat so these discounts are likely to incentivise oat use in animal feed if possible.

On the costs side, at the beginning of September ammonium nitrate was trading at around £360 per tonne and now is trading at around £600-700 per tonne. Nitrogen products continue to rise and urea demand from India has remained strong.

Russia has imposed an export quota on ammonium nitrate, liquid UAN and urea, which is putting further pressure on nitrogen supplies and the current situation was also not helped by two UK fertiliser plants closing in September.

Fertiliser is a large part of the variable costs when growing maize in the US and costs are much higher for maize than soya. Fertiliser prices have also been rising in the US, so there are concerns that US farmers will cut back on the maize area in favour of soya.

Over the past five years, the US maize crop has accounted for 17% of global grain production and since June the cost of urea in Illinois has risen by 60%, which means that variable costs will rise more for maize than soybeans.