Prairie feed grain market inching higher

The feed grain market in Western Canada is starting to firm up as a lack of farmers selling has supplies tightening.

“It seems like we’re kind of moving higher here at the moment. Markets have a firmer tone to them for now. Barley and feed wheat have been moving higher, no doubt about it,” said Allan Pirness of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge, Alta.

Farmers haven’t been selling cereals as much lately and are instead focusing on other crops, Pirness has found. During the delayed harvest in Alberta, canola prices crept up and farmers sold that. Then as of late, lentil prices have been on the rise and farmers have been selling those.

“(Farmers are) focusing on getting some lentils sold and kind of leaving the cereals on targets. They’re setting targets and so far it seems like we’re not getting up to any levels where targets are starting to trigger yet,” Pirness said.

Feed barley is currently sitting around C$250 per tonne, feed wheat at C$240 per tonne. There is still some United States corn making its way into Lethbridge feedlots, with bids sitting at around C$260 per tonne. However, Pirness is finding a lot of the current grains getting shipped to feedlots have been pre-bought.

Deliveries have been easy to make as warm El Nino weather has been hitting southern Alberta lately. There has been little snow and feedlot pens are bare.

“Nice, easy delivery time period. So we’re hoping that stays and farmers that have grain sold they want it moved (now), if they can access it,” Pirness said.

Heading into the New Year Pirness expects that farmer selling will pick up, which should help to top up the feed grain market.

“Farmer selling has to pick up in order for them to get the crop moved this year. They’ll start moving it here in the New Year,” he said.

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