High prices linger for spring feedgrains

Farmers with feedgrains have been able to ride the traditional spring rally for weeks longer than usual this year.


“It’s come on the back of crazy weather, late seeding, late combining and a mixed bag of problems,” said Brandon Motz of CorNine Commodities in Lacombe, Alta.


Lethbridge delivered barley prices in the week of May 28-June 2 were still up in the $175-$180 per tonne range, with vomitoxin-affected feed wheat bringing the same prices.


Low-vomi feed wheat was seeing $190 bids, according to Jim Beusekom of Market Place Commodities.


“People are having to work a little harder to get their hands on feed (than they normally would at this time of year),” he said.


However, Beusekom thinks prices this strong are unlikely to last into the summer unless weather provides a reason.


“We are starting to see bids from our customers back off a little.”


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Farmers are still believed to be holding ample quantities of barley and high-vomi feed wheat, waiting to see what happens with the 2017-18 crop. 


Farmers in many parts of the northern prairies have had trouble getting their crops in, while those in parts of the southern prairies worry about dryness.


The spring rally was stronger than many expected because of a crazy mix of weather that prevented farmers from delivering feed grain, including muddy yards.


Others were busy harvesting 2016 crops that were still in the field because of wet fall weather.


Many struggled to seed this year’s crop, taking longer than expected. 


Prices have been strong even though farmers have lots of feed in-store. 


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“I don’t believe there’s any shortage of feed,” said Beusekom.


“We’re nowhere near out.”


Motz thinks the same, but he thinks feedgrain prices will not fall too far this summer or next crop year because demand re-mains strong and farmers aren’t growing enough barley to swamp it.


“Demand will be stronger than we’re used to through the summer,” said Motz, noting healthy cattle-on-feed numbers.


“Coming into the fall and new year, barley will probably not drop (from summer levels.) I think barley has potential to be higher for 2017-18.”


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