News and Information from Around the Wheat Industry
Speaking of Wheat
“In my view, [news that Cargill and Viterra will stop loading Russian grain] puts more questions around Russia’s ability to export. Russian state exporters claim that they’ll be able to keep grain moving out at the same pace, but major speculative funds holding large short positions may lack confidence in that currently, supporting the recent price recovery as they exit short positions. [March 29] Chicago wheat showed modest gains. All eyes will be focused on [upcoming USDA reports].” Sean Lusk, analyst with Barchart.com.
UK Establishes Scientific Plant Breeding Regulation
On March 23, a United Kingdom (UK) Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament and law. The regulation covers precision-bred plants and animals developed through techniques such as gene editing, which is different from genetic modification, and create a new science-based and streamlined regulatory system to facilitate greater research and innovation in precision breeding while maintaining stricter regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Read the entire story here.
Cooperators Call for Increased Export Promotion Funding
In a period when inflation has raised the cost of everything in the U.S. wheat export supply chain, agricultural producers and processors have asked Congress to double the funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program. Both have not had funding increases since 2006 and 2002 respectively. According to USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor, requests for MAP and FMD monies have far exceeded current funding. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is one of the organizations that cooperates with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service programs to conduct trade service and technical support for export customers. Read the entire story here and visit www.AgExportsCount.com.
National Ag Day Celebration
On March 21 the United States celebrated 50 years of National Ag Day. Started in 1973, National Ag Day increases public awareness about agriculture’s vital role in society. This year, events included grassroots activities across America, and strong social media coverage. Events in Washington, D.C. highlighted U.S. ag’s global impact. The day began with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressing a lively crowd at the USDA, saying “every day should be Ag Day.” Later in the day, a Taste of Ag reception was held at the Library of Congress. Here’s a short video tribute to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and dairy operators:
Cargill to Suspend Grain Export Elevations in Russia
Food and agricultural company Cargill announced March 28 it “will stop elevating Russian grain for export in July 2023 after the completion of the 2022-2023 season.” In addition, Viterra announced March 29 it will also stop loading Russian grain. Cargill owns a stake in the grain terminal in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk but did not specify if it was selling the stake. Reuters reported that Cargill’s shipping unit will continue to carry grain from the country’s ports. Reuters added that the move stoked concerns about global grain supplies disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, lifting benchmark wheat futures prices this week from earlier losses.
India Cuts Wheat Harvest Estimate
The Indian government could reduce its wheat harvest estimate as unseasonal showers and hailstorms led to sizable damage to the wheat crop in the Indian states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, sources in the agriculture ministry told S&P Global Commodity Insights. According to government sources, the production estimates for marketing year 2022-23 (April-March) are likely to reduce by up to 2 million metric tons (MMT) from the projected output of 112.2 million mt, a record harvest. S&P Global noted however that surveyed market participants expect Indian’s wheat harvest to be lower.