Friday, 21 October 2016

Questions starting to be asked about Russian wheat quality

More reports in the media this week that are starting to question the quality of the bumper Russian wheat crop now sitting in the shed.

The USDA Russian grain report mentioned industry analysts consider the overall quality of wheat is worse this year than last.

SGS did a lengthy piece on how hydrothermal (weather?) conditions during vegetation basically did for protein and gluten.

The US strategic forecasting company, Stratfor, confidently report that much of the Russian wheat yield is of substandard quality while in the same article admit that information on the quality of the Russian harvest is not readily available.

These are just three from half a dozen or so news reports that floated across my desk this week which highlighted quality and the drop in milling grade compared to previous years.

Interestingly for all the weather related reasons given in these reports not one mentions the extensive lodging that we saw as a result of the excessive stem elongation as crops grew unabated by a shortage of water.  And by extensive I mean we saw lodging everywhere, Stavropol; Krasnodar; Rostov; Voronezh; Lipetsk; Tambov right up all the way to Moscow. 

As lodging would do more for reducing quality than rain per se then it makes you wonder if the reports fail to mention it, did any of the authors get out of the city to go and have a look?

And no one mentions that it was an avoidable issue.

Some plant growth regulators at early stem extension along with ramping up fungicides then you’d have been, if not off scott-free, certainly in a better position quality wise.

With a $30/mt premium milling commands over feed, which is only likely to get bigger given the amount of feed that will be on the market this year, it makes an additional spray cost of $20/ha seem like a good investment now.

Hindsight is twenty twenty vision but given how wet it was in April and into May some of us did see this coming and suggested something was done about it at the time but it fell on deaf ears.

You can take a horse to water etc.