Grain markets need broader approach, says analyst

The grain market outlook is booming, but farmers must consider the wider implications, according to a leading market analyst.

Grain prices are at a four-year-low, meaning the industry must retune its perspective to respond to long-term influences, says the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).

Jack Watts, lead analyst for the AHDB/HGCA, told British Baker that such low prices mean countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia could take advantage of this and start stockpiling grains like wheat - increasing demand.

This could prompt farmers to alter how they approach the harvest, by changing costs and bringing in better crop rotations.

Watts said: “It is all about rationalising and taking advantage of increased consumption and imports. We have to build a strategic plan.”

Watts also warned of possible weather conditions, which last time brought about drought to Australia and had a serious impact on the grain harvest.

He said: “The probability of these weather conditions this year is quite strong, but we have to wait to see what effects they have.”

HGCA’s 2014 Grain Market Outlook Conference will explore the market and examine prospects for grain and oilseeds.

Jonathan Tipples, HGCA chair, said: “Market conditions in 2014/15 are shaping up to be the most challenging for a number of years. It’s really important that we zoom out from immediate issues and speculations, and focus on the broader issues that may affect the market in the coming months. With recent events showing the market doesn’t respect costs of production, what lies ahead for cereals and oilseeds businesses?”

Four speakers will give market analysis, with opportunities for the audience to ask questions after each paper.

They will cover issues such as the impact of the Ukrainian crisis, import competition and farm-level investments.

The conference will take place on Tuesday 14 October at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London.

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