Spring weather may swing Western Canadian feed markets

Winnipeg – Spring weather conditions have the potential to swing feed grain markets in Western Canada over the next few weeks, although prices generally remain steady for the time being.

“Spring is here, and as the snow melts it creates mud, road bans and all that lovely stuff,” said Brandon Motz of CorNine Commodities in Lacombe, Alberta.

With road bans coming into effect, Motz said calls were starting to come in about loading early in the morning or waiting a couple of weeks to move grain. However, the weather has yet to have a noticeable impact on the market.

Feedlots and feedmills are both well covered, so Motz said there had yet to be any panicked calls from end users looking for grain because the trucks weren’t moving. The infrastructure is also constantly being improved, with most in the industry well prepared for spring.

Tight barley supplies remain a supportive influence, while ample corn imports from the United States limited the upside for Canadian feed grains, said Motz.

Barley is currently priced at C$270 to C$275 per tonne range delivered Lethbridge. Feed wheat bids range from C$258 to C$263 per tonne, and corn at C$260 to C$264.

Prices were showing signs of peaking, “but at springtime we take nothing for granted,” said Motz, adding that shifts in the weather still have the potential to spark a rally.

Spring seeding is just around the corner, and the tight barley situation over the past winter has led to general expectations for an increase in barley acres in 2019.

Canadian farmers seeded 6.49 million acres of barley in 2018, according to Statistics Canada data. Motz said the intended acreage increase could be anywhere from three to eight per cent.

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