Feed weekly outlook: World weather buoys barley

Barley south of Ethelton, Sask. on Aug. 3, 2017. (Dave Bedard photo)

MarketsFarm — Canadian feed barley prices are being buoyed by a triple threat of weather circumstances both locally and abroad.

Three years of dry growing conditions in Australia have tightened global feed barley supplies to the point that domestic Canadian prices have increased. Current feed barley bids are topping out at $6.25 per bushel in Alberta, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data.

“When you look at the entire world for barley exports, the only appreciable increase in production has been in Canada and Kazakhstan,” said Geoff Backman, manager of business development and markets for Alberta Barley.

“So we’re seeing feed markets increase the price of barley to ration that demand.”

Recently in Alberta, feed barley prices have been approximately equivalent to that of malting barley, and sometimes better, he said.

Prolonged dryness across the Prairies also buoyed feed grain prices, as pastureland carrying capacity has suffered to the point that producers are seeking alternative feed sources.

Though pasture conditions were slightly alleviated in recent rains, a report Thursday from Saskatchewan Agriculture emphasized more rain is required for crop and pastureland to thrive.

Typically, Backman said, readily available feed corn exports from the United States keep a lid on barley prices. But with continual wet conditions in the U.S. Midwest, corn yields are uncertain.

“The big question mark here is around the U.S. corn crop and what production numbers will be, so there’s a lot of potential for the feed barley market this year,” he said.

— Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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