Cash barley bids in Western Canada have slowly softened over the past week and should continue to do so through the summer months, according to a feed grains merchant.
Spot bids in the key Lethbridge, Alta. feeding area can currently be found around $208 per tonne, which compares with the recent highs near $212.
“Cattle numbers (on feed) are going down, which results in less demand for barley,” said Jim Beusekom of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge, noting that bids typically hit their seasonal highs in May and June before edging lower.
Any decline in demand was being offset by the lack of available nearby supplies, with farmers slow to make deliveries, he said.
Looking to the new crop, Beusekom said there were some good opportunities available, with prices above $200 per tonne for Lethbridge delivery.
From a historical perspective, he said, barley bids tend to trend lower into harvest time, making now a good time for producers to do some forward contracting.
Recent declines in the U.S. corn futures market have not yet factored into the Canadian feed market, as values there were already overpriced compared to Canadian feed grains.