Prairie feed barley prices nearing 2014 highs

CNS Canada — Lethbridge feed grain markets are trading at highs for the 2014 calendar year, and even starting to approach September prices, according to Jim Beusekom, grain broker at MarketPlace Commodities.

“We’re at $190 to $195 per tonne for feed barley and feed wheat.”

Road bans, the start of seeding and the logistics slowdown gripping the railway industry are all adding to the list of factors keeping the price high.

Farmers have seen the market upturn and have held back selling their supplies so they can raise target price levels, he said, adding this will keep the market firm until there are more sellers than buyers.

However, a shortage of available trucks is the biggest factor facing the industry, he said.

“We can pick between moving barley, wheat, oats, feed products; we have to decide where we’re moving our truck power too. There’s only so much of it out there.”

Finding available grain isn’t too much of a problem, he said, noting there are areas in Saskatchewan and northern Alberta that still have a lot of feed sitting around. But finding the trucks to move it is difficult.

“It’s where the grain is positioned, where it’s located, that’s the problem right now; it’s in the wrong places.”

An expected increase of rail cars isn’t expected to alleviate the situation either. Beusekom said it will likely just mean more competition for everyone who needs to move grain.

“In essence we’re probably competing more trying to get these trucks to work for us than work for the line companies, the elevator system, than we have throughout the winter.”

According to the April 21 weekly feed grain prices at the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Lethbridge feed barley was $193 per tonne, feed peas were $215 per tonne, feed wheat was $193 per tonne and oats checked in at $181 per tonne.

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.



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