Lethbridge feed wheat stays steady, barley moves downward

WINNIPEG — Feed barley prices have come down, while wheat is holding steady in Lethbridge, the centre of the livestock feeding sector.

The price of feed barley in Lethbridge fell about $10 a tonne throughout November to sit at about $210 to $212 per tonne, according to Jim Beusekom, owner of Market Place Commodities.

There are three main reasons for the decline, he said.

“One is the very mild weather in Lethbridge, so feed consumption is steady, but nothing dramatic.”

He added that the mild weather also makes grain movement easier, further pressuring barley prices.

“The feed grains that have been purchased, they’re coming in on time, there’s been no disruptions, everything is flowing along fine, about as good as it can be.”

The third reason for the depreciation is increased farmer selling. Beusekom said some producers are still holding back and hoping for higher prices, but even still there was an uptick in selling, especially around mid-November.

Though feed barley in Lethbridge has been moving lower, wheat prices have stayed steady throughout November.

Producers are still sorting through their wheat and determining what will be used for milling and what will be used as feed, Beusekom said.

He added that buyers are trying to get wheat into the market, which is reflected in slightly stronger bids.

“It’s a fairly steady market throughout Alberta, buyers are, I wouldn’t say they’re aggressively looking for wheat, but they’re still in the market looking to buy some wheat.”

But there’s a lid on feed wheat prices, despite increased demand.

“We’re not seeing usage increase in feed wheat necessarily,” Beusekom said.

He pegs Lethbridge feed wheat prices at about $220 to $225 per tonne.

Looking to 2016, Beusekom said Lethbridge feed grains have more downside risk than upside potential, especially because farmer selling will likely increase moving into a new tax year.

“I would think you’ll see a downturn in prices by February next year. If you’re a farmer, make sure you’re proactive with your selling.”

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