Feed barley market steady, gains expected in spring

(Canada Beef Inc. photo)

CNS Canada — The feed barley market is holding relatively steady in Alberta early in the New Year, but advances are expected looking ahead to the spring.

“There has been a fair bit of selling (over the past few weeks) but that hasn’t really pressured prices down any further,” said Jared Seitz of grain brokerage Agfinity at Stony Plain, Alta.

The steady tone in the face of increased sales was a supportive price signal, which was being borne out in the improving prices for spring delivery, he said, adding he expects to see prices start to increase for March/April/May delivery.

Freight rates are more competitive this year, which is making for better pricing across a larger region of Alberta, he added.

Many larger feedlots in southern Alberta had been using 100 per cent feed wheat rations, but many are now switching to barley or making plans to do so.

“That will help with barley demand over the next few months,” Seitz said.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that feed wheat prices are going down. Seitz said there was still consistent demand for feed wheat from domestic feeders, while a good export program for Canada Prairie Spring (CPS) wheat was also underpinning the feed side as well.

The weak Canadian dollar is keeping U.S. corn and DDGS from moving into the country, which is supportive for barley and feed wheat demand.

However, even if the currency was on par, Seitz didn’t think there would be much corn coming up, due to ample domestic supplies.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

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