Late winter underpinning Prairie barley bids

Winnipeg (CNS Canada) – Lingering winter weather across the Canadian Prairies means cattle are eating more grain, but the possibility of delayed seeding also has farmers with grain to sell eyeing better prices.

“As the winter continues to hang on, cattle producers are continuing to have to feed (grain) until they can get their cattle out to pasture,” said Glen Loyns, general manager with JGL Commodities in Moose Jaw, Sask., noting that barley markets were seeing some strength as a result.

However, while the demand is there, “farmer participation is not,” he added. “With the long, extended winter we’re having, guys are just holding onto it for better pricing,” said Loyns pointing to the uncertainty over new crop production.

“Prices aren’t going down any time soon,” said Loyns.

Barley in the key feeding area of Lethbridge, Alta. have moved steadily higher over the past few months, with current bids in the C$245 to C$248 per tonne area, according to government data.

However, additional advances in feed grains may also be hard to come by.

Loyns estimated that there was still plenty of unpriced barley in the countryside, despite the aggressive export program this year. Corn imports from the United States and Manitoba are another factor keeping a lid on values.

Looking ahead to spring seeding, the solid feed pricing should encourage some acres. In addition, “as the winter continues to hang on, there’s a higher probability of barley going in the ground because of the shortened growing season,” said Loyns. While conditions can change quickly at this time of year, he added that there was still two feet of snow in some of the northern growing regions.

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