Wheat futures are consolidating.
Near-term wheat cargoes lost from the Black Sea have been covered from other origins, including the EU and India.
At the same time, the market is cautious about punching higher simply on the basis of the fighting between Ukraine and Russia.
The market has accepted that the flow of grain from Russia and Ukraine will be compromised for a long time, even as exports from Ukraine start to trickle out to Europe by rail.
The expectation is that this will grow, but it won't be able to replace bulk shipments by sea.
The outlook for the rest of this year remains one of high wheat prices.
We would certainly be expecting a year-on-year increase in wheat prices, so that puts the market well above $400 a tonne delivered port next harvest.
And that is not a bad outlook on which to end 25 years of writing the Smart Marketing column for the Rural Press/Australian Community Media group.
The first Smart Marketing column was written in May 1997, 12-months after wheat prices had pushed to record levels in April 1996.
That rally had been triggered by a drop in global wheat stocks, but the rally was short-lived, with higher prices triggering a sustained lift in production.
Since then we have seen another two price rallies that have delivered record prices.
The first of these was in 2007 and 2008, triggered by a sharp rundown in global stocks of most grains.
The second is the current rally triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Over the 25-year period of writing this column we have seen changes on three fronts.
The first has been the deregulation of our grain markets, which began with the domestic market in the late 1980s.
Eventually that culminated with the loss of the export single desk in 2007.
Allied with that was the demutualisation of our government backed co-operative marketing and grain handling entities.
Eventually we saw those companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with ownership and control passing from growers' hands.
Probably, most exciting, has been the flow of new and innovative marketing products, starting with put options traded directly on the Chicago Board of Trade exchange, and simple fixed price and minimum price forward contracts offered daily.
Wheat swaps came along, but we also saw basis contracts and alternative pools offered by the grain handling companies, with banks also offering harvest finance products.
In later years we have seen the development of online trading platforms, pioneered by the Clear Grain Exchange.
It has been an exciting 25 years but it is now time to say farewell, and to wish readers all the best for 2022 and the years beyond.
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