Shipping feed grains to feedlots becoming a problem

WINNIPEG (CNS Canada) – Road bans are starting with the warmer weather, which is leading to problems shipping feed grains to feedlots in Alberta.

“The supply is actually there at the farm gate but getting the supply from the farm gate to the end user means more truck logistics and higher freight rates typically,” said Jim Beusekom, with Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge, Alta.

On top of this the Easter holiday long weekend is causing headaches for shipping due to the short work week.

“Truck logistics get tighter, truck availability is tighter. So as a result supply tightens up one out of five days,” Beusekom said.

As a result, feed grain prices are on the rise. Feed barley is trading between C$244 to C$248 per tonne, feed wheat is at C$240 to C$245 per tonne depending on the quality, and corn from the United States or Manitoba is at C$245 to C$255 depending on the destination and delivery requirements.

Earlier in the year, feed grain prices were closer to the C$210 per tonne mark, but scarcity of delivery options has pushed the price up. The grain supply is there but it is costing feedlots more to ship it.

The ongoing rail crisis is also affecting feed grain shipping. Western Canadian producers have been grappling with a grain backlog as the national railways have had trouble providing enough rail cars to ship grain to ports. For the Alberta feedlot industry, this is causing problems for importing corn from the U.S. and Manitoba.

“There’s some issues getting enough rail cars, maybe at times too much rail cars. It’s trying to find that balance of getting enough at the right time but not too much of it either,” Beusekom said.

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