Barley bids strengthen for spring delivery

Ample feed wheat supplies in Western Canada are keeping barley bids fairly stable in the spot market; however, deferred delivery contracts for the spring are showing some more strength.

The March-through-June time period is typically a heavy livestock feeding time, and price opportunities for the spring months can already be found over $200 per tonne in the key cattle feeding areas of southern Alberta, said Dave Guichon, president of AgValue Group in Calgary.

That compares with bids for nearby delivery around $193 per tonne in southern Alberta, with offers closer to $198.

While an active Canadian Wheat Board export program and the tightening supplies are keeping barley bids well supported, Guichon said large nearby supplies of feed wheat were keeping nearby barley prices in a tight range.

Prices should soften slightly in the February/March period, as spring rolls in and farmers increase their sales, he said. After that, the barley market will tighten in again, accounting for the better price opportunities for April-to-June delivery.

Feeding costs in Western Canada are currently considerably less than in the U.S., which should keep domestic feeders looking to buy feed more barley.

Guichon noted DDGS (dried distillers grains with solubles) are getting too expensive to bring up from the U.S., and feeders are only keeping them in rations to a minimum extent.

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