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Wheat export shipments are meeting demand for quality, says Gleadell Agriculture

PUBLISHED: 14:39 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:39 24 March 2017

Gleadell loaded MV Lady Astrid with 3000 tonnes of wheat at Great Yarmouth grain terminal. Picture: Gleadell Agriculture.

Gleadell loaded MV Lady Astrid with 3000 tonnes of wheat at Great Yarmouth grain terminal. Picture: Gleadell Agriculture.

Gleadell

Wheat from last summer’s East Anglian harvest continues to flow to mainland Europe as end-users seek alternatives to poor-quality French supplies, according to one of the region’s grain traders.

Gleadell Agriculture, which operates the deep-water facility at Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour, recently loaded the MV Lady Astrid with 3,000 tonnes of wheat destined for the continent – one of many coaster-sized vessels which the company has shipped this season.

The grain was shipped to Rotterdam then discharged into smaller barges and delivered via inland waterways to the customer’s plant in Belgium.

Gleadell trading director Jonathan Lane said the geographic position of Great Yarmouth makes it an “ideal place to originate and ship wheat to near-continent customers”.

But he said disappointing wheat yields and higher domestic demand has eroded the UK’s exportable surplus this campaign by 50pc compared with last year – however, the quality of the crop has provided opportunities.

“The UK has sold wheat again in tenders to Algeria and the much-reduced crop and mycotoxin issues in France have also provided some new market outlets for UK wheat to the near-continent,” he said.

“The weaker pound has also helped the UK ethanol sector and CropEnergies’ Teesport plant has been in operation since July, adding approximately 650,000 tonnes of wheat demand to the market.”

Exports were mostly shipped in the first half of the campaign, said Mr Lane, but as domestic demand started to bite, the internal UK market is now priced at a level that will protect supply and prevent any large-scale exports.

“Import wheat volumes are likely to be maintained at similar levels to last year,” he said. “This higher domestic demand and lower production will see the UK’s stock situation fall back from historically higher levels back to a more normal 1.8m tonne, but will leave the UK with little room for error with next year’s harvest.”

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