The absence of willing sellers and advances in other grains are adding some firmness to feed barley values in southern Alberta.
However, the lack of fresh demand is limiting any upward price movement, keeping barley in a narrow range, said an industry participant.
Lethbridge feed barley spot bids in mid-February are $210 per tonne, up from an early February low of $208, said Jim Beusekom, grain trader with Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge.
New-crop bids are ranging from $200 to $210 per tonne, Beusekom said.
Tightness in the cash market has been supportive towards current bids, he said, adding that the upward trend in canola and malt barley prices is also enticing producers to hold onto their supplies longer, hoping for higher feed barley values.
However, the upward price potential is being limited, with feed barley demand at its lowest level since last fall, he said.
Some fresh demand from the cattle industry would help enhance feed barley’s upward price potential, he said.
However, without any new demand coming, any movement in prices will be limited, Beusekom said.
That demand may be hard to come by this year, with a smaller cattle population and an unseasonably warm winter pushing feed barley use demand down by two per cent in 2011-12, according to Wednesday’s supply and demand report from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.