Malt barley prices remain stable


MarketsFarm — Malt barley prices have held steady throughout the 2019 growing season as global demand remains strong.

Malt prices in 2018 were driven about 15 per cent higher due to a global shortage. According to Farmlink, drought conditions caused Australia to produce “one of the smallest barley crops in recent memory.” The crops were 18 per cent smaller than the previous growing season, and 25 per cent below the five-year average.

Canadian barley prices saw a boost at the end of 2018 due to these tightened global supplies, and prices have remained strong throughout 2019, said Geoff Backman, manager of business development and markets for Alberta Barley.

While attractive 2018 prices boosted 2019 acreage, some believe the approximately seven million acres of malt and feed barley reported by Statistics Canada may not come to fruition due to nationwide lack of seed.

“Some are saying it would have been larger if more seed could be found,” Backman said. “Some are saying it’s overstated because there wasn’t enough seed available.”

Statistics Canada reported 2019 total acreage to be approximately one million acres more than what was planted in 2018.

“We’re still waiting to see if those numbers develop. We do expect an increase, we’re just not sure of the size.”

Prices for malt barley have been between $5 and $5.50 per bushel.

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

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