Oats market steady, watching harvest

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MarketsFarm — Western Canada’s oats market is stable at prices a bit better than a year ago, as harvest gets underway and participants wait to see how much will move off the combine to the market.

Early yield reports range anywhere from 80 to 140 bushels per acre, said Tyler Palmer, grain buyer with Emerson Milling in southern Manitoba. He said quality was reportedly very good, but it was still early going.

Ryan McKnight, of Linear Grain at Carman, Man., echoed those sentiments, noting quality was good but yields were mixed.

“We’ll be taking in a lot of oats this week,” said McKnight.

End users were relatively well covered, but oats were still priced favourably compared to other commodities, he said.

Prices are generally topping out in the $3.25 per bushel area in Saskatchewan, for both old- and new-crop oats, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data. New-crop bids are generally a bit higher in Manitoba and lower in Alberta.

Prices were about 25 to 30 cents per bushel lower at this time last year, according to McKnight.

He expected seasonal harvest pressure could weigh on prices, but added market direction will depend on yields and on how much of the oats crop ends up being cut for greenfeed.

On paper, increased seeded acres should point to a larger Canadian oats crop, but “nobody knows how much will be cut for silage or greenfeed,” said McKnight.

Poor hay cuts in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have led to tight forage supplies, which could see some oats cut as greenfeed in cattle country.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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