Alta. feed barley prices remain firm

CNS Canada — Cash barley prices near the key cattle feeding area of Lethbridge, Alta. remain firm, supported in large part by lingering winter weather and sluggish movement of grain across Western Canada, say brokers in the region.

According to Shane Roberts of Cactus Commodity at Raymond, Alta., prices for March/April deliveries are anywhere from $184 to $188 per tonne — “20 bucks higher than it was in November or December,” he explained.

Neil Slingerland, president of Newco Grain at Coaldale, Alta., agrees the market hasn’t moved too much in the past little while, “Steady at $182 delivered,” he said, adding that’s substantially higher than it was in January.

Both said they have seen barley and feed grain laying around in nearby fields. “There’s still quite a bit of grain out there, a lot of stuff to move,” said Roberts.

Current wet and mucky conditions are making it tough to get into producers’ yards, though, and Roberts noted road bans kicked in recently. Additional bans, limiting axle weights on certain roads, take effect Tuesday morning.

What’s more, trucks are busy hauling fertilizer right now and railcar movement of grain remains slow — all factors Roberts believes will act to keep prices up.

Another factor to consider, Roberts said, is that some feedlots and end-users are buying product as cheap as they can, “so they’re not going out and booking a lot of grain, they’re just going week to week; this is moving the market up.”

With all the factors at play, Slingerland acknowledged the current price won’t stay the same forever.

“This is probably the peak for this crop year,” he said.

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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