Sunday, August 14, 2022

Growers wary of Russia-Ukraine conflict

Cropping farmers are wrapping up one of the worst harvests they’ve seen.

UWG chair Brian Leadley says overall it has been a poor harvest and coupled with the Russia-Ukraine conflict it is expected there will be major pressure in supply and demand, especially for milling wheat.

Cropping farmers are wrapping up one of the worst harvests they’ve seen.

Coupled with the threat of the long-term implications of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, things can’t get much worse, United Wheatgrowers chair and Mid Canterbury cropping farmer Brian Leadley said.  

“It’s got beyond urgent for many crops, the damage is done now, particularly for cereals and cut grasses,” Leadley said.

“The weather hasn’t played its part right back from flowering time in December, covid has created logistics issues and now we have the added confusion of the Russia-Ukraine war – both that are large and strong grain growing nations.

“Going into spring the people that should be planting the crops (in Ukraine) are either leaving the country or fighting to save it.

“All put together the entire global grain scene will feel the impact.”

Windows of operation for combines have been few and far between, certainly not consistent, with one of the wettest summers in Canterbury on record.

Yields and grain and seed qualities will make a dent in the market.

Southland is the only exception.

“We are hearing yields and harvest overall have been good (in Southland), but most of the grain is grown for the local feed industry and there will be very little unaccounted for to share around,” he said.

In Canterbury and the lower North Island, from milling wheat through to feed wheat, growers are reporting very poor crop conditions, with below average yields and quality. 

Reports of sprouting in milling wheat are as high as 40% of crops.

The positive of the poor harvest season is the lift in grains pricing, for now.

Feed wheat and barley are both pegged around the $460-$490 a tonne mark.

Feed wheat prices are holding firm for the time being but supply and demand is expected to move that.

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