RAINING BIRDS – MAKES A CHANGE FROM CATS AND DOGS!!! - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

David Neale Blog

February 9, 2012


With temperatures at -30 degrees in the Ukraine and Russia the birds are freezing in the air and crashing to the ground. Saves some cartridges I guess! Where possible let’s look after our feathered friends at this cold time where we can and do put out food and water. As we come across Eastern Europe in to Poland and Germany we see -20 degrees and even snow in Barcelona and -5 in Paris! Russian ports are now frozen and stopping exports. On the other hand we have extreme drought in South America impacting on Soya and Maize yields and wet soils in Europe now freezing with little snow cover to protect arable crops.

For us, some cold weather is no bad thing, although for me in the Cotswolds and many central and eastern areas our concern remains over shortage of water heading in to the spring with rivers and reservoirs at low levels. Last week, as a result of this, we have seen prices moving back up with most lost ground already regained. VOLATILITY REMAINS A CONSTANT.

Last year we had price variances of up to £100 tonne – I remember in my early trading days 50p a month was talked about! Now £10 day seems acceptable and does not cause much of a stir!


At a recent Agrii Event meeting a grower pointed out how he was following my advice and was achieving his best average prices he can remember for malting barley, milling wheat and oilseed rape. As he said ‘a little and often does you good’! On top of that, despite the weather, last year he has had some of the best yields he has ever achieved.

Barley is close to wheat with good UK and world demand and malting barleys remain strong due to demand and a shortage of quality stocks both now and into next year. There is some recovery in milling wheat premiums and you need to ask around for specific homes that are buying on a short term basis. Feed wheat remains strong with our export companies doing a great job in both this and OSR exports.

With OSR demand for inclusion in bio fuels and Europe is still short despite the fact we have exported our usual annual quantity in the first 6 months! Prices remain firm into next year and oil bonuses make excellent returns. Be alert as we have increased demand this year for the low trans-fat HOLL group of rape with hybrid lines, high yields and excellent added value premiums. Ask your agronomist or seed contact about this growing opportunity.

Despite a drop in area be alert to both the valuable Linseed crop and in demand Pulses for export markets.

No doubt this weather will cause further soft commodity fund manager reactions and grain trader activity. Do make use of Glencore and its superb Grainman and Grainmate facilities for market information and offers.


Spring Barley has been drilled in parts of the East and spring is around the corner! With wheat and OSR up in acreage expect pressure in spring barley plantings in England. Scotland with its desperate autumn weather will be higher in spring barley drillings than other places.

Concern over INCREASING RISK OF Brown Rust and Yellow Rust resistance prevails and with current values reminds us of an early proactive target of these and other major disease challenges. Come along to one of our nationwide Agrii Events during February and March to hear much more about our research and development work.


Our new company name has been announced – Agrii. Two great businesses focussed on you, bringing together the best of Masstock and UAP. The most significant point is about you and your contact with us, working together every day – that does not change.

Behind this, as you have heard from many of us over the years, is a unique and growing commitment to R&D and practical knowledge transfer to help you get the best results on your farm with innovative advice, service and technology.

We are unique in our joined up R&D across seed, treatments, nutrition, agronomy, end markets and new technologies and supported by in house farm business advice.

Our 40,000 replicated plots, 260 trials at key sites, supported by 30+ Agrii Events and demonstration sites in your locality allows us to be relevant and in touch with your area.

As we say this is about ‘Two to the power of you’

Yes the name changes BUT the people and services just keep getting even better to help you cope with the current and future challenges. Add to this some key new additions to our business and increased focus on yield and drivers to achieve that potential coming from new genetics and plant breeding traits to help lift the bar and drive yields up by increasing levels every year. Targets of 20 tonne hectare of wheat and 8 tonne hectare of OSR are not dreams – they can and will become more of a reality.

Are you aware Government and DEFRA are re focussing on Production and Knowledge Transfer ! How appropriate it is to us given we pride ourselves on being just the people to deliver this at the place where it counts – with you.


Did you know that there are more Pigs in China today than the rest of the world combined! Next question is how many Trotters is that?

Come and meet up with me at forthcoming events and let’s have your views on the likely outcome of the Six Nations Rugby about to start!


You can email David your comments and opinions via david.neale@agrii.co.uk.

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