U.S. corn to supplement tight Canadian feed supplies

"U.S. corn should start landing in Lethbridge sometime in October or early November," said Jim Beusekom of MarketPlace Commodities in Lethbridge.  | File photo

The looming corn harvest in the United States should keep a lid on rising feedgrain prices in Western Canada, with more corn expected to make its way into Canadian feedlots this winter.

“U.S. corn should start landing in Lethbridge sometime in October or early November,” said Jim Beusekom of MarketPlace Commodities in Lethbridge. “That will replace a substantial amount of the barley and feed wheat being used today.”

Beusekom noted that corn was currently trading at about C$30 to $40 per tonne cheaper than barley or feed wheat delivered into Lethbridge, with both domestic grains in the $390 to $400 per tonne area.

“We have to get through another six weeks of Western Canada supply until the corn comes in, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Barley and feed wheat supplies are so tight that Beusekom didn’t expect prices to drop too far, but added that such a move was possible.

“I think we could see the price of barley drop down to where U.S. corn lands in, or it could stay at a fairly solid premium to the corn market simply because there’s not much for sale.”

“If they want to keep a sizable amount of barley (in feed rations) they’ll have to pay up… but if they decide to switch to corn they probably won’t pay up for barley,” said Beusekom.

With those looming corn imports anticipated, farmers are already selling more barley than usual in the current market. Beusekom said available supplies may be tight, but farmers are selling what they have to take advantage of the high prices while they can.

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