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Commercial wheat and barley end stocks look tight at the start of the 2021/22 season, says the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Total imported... Tight end stocks for wheat and barley

Commercial wheat and barley end stocks look tight at the start of the 2021/22 season, says the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Total imported wheat stood at 2.43Mt – some 331Kt higher than forecasts in May and up 130% from 2019/20. 

With UK production sub-10Mt, this may be no surprise to trade, says AHDB analyst Megan Hesketh. This was primarily driven by increased use of imported wheat in the human and industrial (H&I) sector, she says.

“Despite this, wheat availability was still down year-on-year leading to a fall in ending stocks. Barley ending stocks finished tighter than previous years too.”

Barley availability in 2020/21 increased year-on-year, with production up 1% to 8.12Mt and imports up 26% to 88Kt.Total domestic consumption rose 18% year-on-year, to 7.29Mt. This was mostly driven by increased animal feed demand. 

Maize saw an increase in domestic consumption, up by 18% year-on-year, at 2.55Mt. This was mainly driven by a rise in animal feed demand. Maize imports were up 20% year-on-year to 2.86Mt, near 2018/19 levels.

“Wheat production during 2021/22 is expected to recover. With autumn 2020 weather allowing a move back to winter cropping, expectations are for a wheat crop in the region of 14.5Mt. Though as mentioned above, stocks are low entering this season.”

With higher production, we may see animal feed ration inclusions rise from 2019/20. Barley inclusion is expected to remain strong should the discount to wheat hold, though it is important to remember the UK barley picture also looks tight.

“This year, there is also E10 ethanol demand to consider for feed wheat. So, supply and demand could remain tight for UK 2021/22 wheat,” says Ms Hesketh. “One key watch point is wheat quality.

“The release of the provisional GB cereal quality survey (CQS) report shows domestic milling wheat varieties have detailed low specific weights to 7 September, due to inclement summer weather.”