Feed Barley Prices Hang Tight, Waiting for New Crop

WINNIPEG (CNS) – The thought of sizzling days near the end of May in 2017 is helping keep feed barley prices in Western Canada well supported, according to a market-watcher.

“There is that memory of last year’s drought and seeing temperatures in the high 20s and 30s at the end of May,” said Allan Pirness of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge, Alberta. “It’s kind of the backdrop for barley at the moment.”

Prices for feed barley and feed wheat continue to hang around the C$250 per bushel mark. Corn is slightly more, according to Pirness.

Getting supplies has been easier than a few months ago, with the improvement of rail deliveries.

“The trains have been showing up on time so the flow is there,” he added.

Pirness doesn’t think the industry will have to ration supplies to avoid running out before the new crop is ready. He points out farmers in the United States need to get rid of more corn first.

“We’re also getting into the summer period where there is less demand for grain, less cattle on feed,” he pointed out.

One thing that is needed though is rain. Pirness says the dry conditions plaguing Western Canada are making it tough for producers to offer new crop pricing.

“A nice general rain would start to get people focused on new crop marketing, right now it’s a big standoff with them wondering what they’re going to have,” he said. “Nobody wants to sell something they’re afraid they can’t produce.”

According to Statistics Canada’s field crop estimate from April 27, farmers were expected to plant 6.059 million acres of barley in 2018/19. That compares to just 5.766 million acres last year.

“I think we’ll see a bigger barley crop than (2017). Last year was so low it was almost an extreme year.”

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