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Orion Farming Monthly Newsletter May 2024


Cefetra Market Report: Late April 2024

At long last the weather has turned drier here in the UK and on the continent.  This has allowed growers to catch up with field work, fertilising, spraying and drilling, although some very heavy ground is still too wet to do anything with.  The French spring barley crop is thought to be over 85% drilled, with UK spring crops perhaps between 50-60% complete at time of writing (19th April).  It is certainly expected that crops recently sown and going in over the next week or two will have a reduced yield – the weather will continue to play a key role in this outcome too. The general feedback now is that crops are going in nicely, just unfortunately not 4 weeks prior.

Graph 1. Showing French Spring Barley Drilling Progress

Tensions in the Middle East continue to rise with Israel having now fired missiles/drones back at Iran after their initial assault just over a week ago.  Neither of these events have had any real impact on markets, as oil generally looks weak and commodities remain unchanged.  This will be down to the fact that the MENA (Middle East and Northern Africa) region are mainly importers of grain and these conflicts don’t directly affect that.

Mixed weather in South America is causing a few issues at present, and we see predictions of yield  being reduced on the Brazilian Safrinah crop on the back of both dry weather and an unexpected pest outbreak.  Argentina is seeing the opposite, as the soyabean harvest stalls week-on-week due to heavy rains.

With EU production estimates decreasing, S+D’s for new crop begin to look more balanced as opposed to heavy.  This means that there is potential for markets to find some strength on the back of EU weather issues, should they arise.  This was not the case a few months ago, with large carry outs expected from 23/24 season and higher production figures for 24/25.

Black Sea wheat production estimates have also been revised down with analysts shaving off 1Mmt from the Russia crop so far on the back of hot and dry weather.  With May being a key growing month for the crop, absence of rain for another few weeks could become an issue.  This is certainly an area to be monitored, but not necessarily a market moving narrative at this early stage.  Latest weather models do show some rains but we will have to watch to see how that pans out.

Interestingly on Monday 22nd April, grains had a significant jump higher as Fund managers adjust their positions.  In simple terms – with funds holding close to a record short in futures markets, of which most expire in May, they needed to buy back in the market in order avoid being obliged to produce the physical goods.  Now on the 23rd April, the market is beginning to retrace – which could mean that they are re-installing their short on a further forward position (Nov24).

Technicalities aside, in essence the spike is on the back of huge financial shuffling and not necessarily because the market tone is improving long-term.  No matter what the reason was, it gave several growers a short-lived opportunity to mark the book with £200+/t for new crop wheat pre-Christmas. 

Please do get in touch if you would like any prices on old OR new crop, along with any fertiliser top ups on both liquid and solid as we begin the usage period.

To find out more, please contact the team at Cefetra Grain: Simon Wilcox, Manager – UK Farm Grain Origination, 07774 822507,; Josef Grinczer, Farm Grain Buyer, 07712 325197, ; Ian Jervis, Farm Grain Buyer, 07497 185361,





Orion Suppliers Latest Promotions posted in April

APM have posted details of a promotion running to the end of May, focussed on relevant products for the spring season with bulk discounts on spray consumables.

Lighting Electrical Distribution Ltd. have an exceptional High Bay lighting offer specifically for Orion Members.

Webbs are offering an additional 20% discount to Orion Members.

Farm XS are offering 10% discount to New Members joining their Farm Plastic Recycling Scheme.

If you haven't yet got the Orion App and want to find the latest supplier promotions together with a lot of other features, please click on the button and fill out the contact details at the bottom of this page or contact Adam Donaldson on 07907 581094 or

Suppliers, if you would like to ensure all your details are up to date, and add in any promotional material for Orion Members, then please get in touch with Adam or fill in the contact details at the bottom of this page.


Save the Date - Orion Annual General Meeting

The 2024 AGM will be held on Wednesday 22nd May. PLEASE note the venue and start time – 11.30am at Millets Farm Conference Centre. We hope that as many of you as possible can join us for the meeting and for a drink and delicious lunch afterwards. Paperwork with details will be sent by email to Members.


Orion welcomes a New Farm Member

Orion welcomes Ed Newton to the Group. Ed farms near Malvern in Worcestershire.




Compound Feed

A decision has been made as to which suppliers will supply the Group’s compound feed for the next tender period starting on the 1st September 2024. Members in Area A, (NE of the M40) will be supplied by GLW and those members in Area B (SW of the M40) will be supplied by ForFarmers. Both GLW and ForFarmers have stated that they will honour the Group prices for compound feed for those members who are not in their respective designated area.

Mineral Update

The preferred supplier for Q2 Group minerals is Wynnstay. Orders can be placed with their representative who deals with your account or through the office. Please be aware that the lead time for delivery is 14 working days. For bespoke minerals please contact the office with your requirements.

Calf Milk Powder

As is the case each year, the Group will again be looking to pool tonnage requirements for milk powders and will be asking suppliers to quote for the bulk of the Group business. The main period during which suppliers will be asked to provide any additional savings will be between July and September. Requirement forms will be sent out to members in June.


The summer molasses period started on the 1st May and runs through until the 30th September and once again the tender has been awarded to ForFarmers. prices are held and orders can be placed through the office.


And Finally…

Totally irrelevant but quite interesting facts of the month… Moles can dig at a rate equivalent to a man shifting 3,000 shovel-loads of earth an hour and Emily Bronte who wrote Wuthering Heights and Kate Bush, who sung ‘Wuthering Heights’, were both born on the 30th July, 140 years apart.

For more details on any matter raised in the Feed & Livestock section, please contact Joe in the office: Joe Cobb, Feed & Livestock Manager,  01865 393 139


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