Rising feed grain prices set to hit seasonal plateau

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

CNS Canada –– Feed barley bids in Alberta have shown some strength over the past few weeks, but may be nearing their highs if seasonal price trends come into play.

Barley in the key cattle feeding area of Lethbridge, Alta. is currently trading at about $170 per tonne, up by about $10 over the past few weeks, said Jim Beusekom of Market Place Commodities.

Feed wheat in the same area is “a two-tiered market,” as supplies with low vomitoxin levels trade at a considerable premium to high-vomitoxin wheat.

“Good feed wheat is at about $175 (per tonne), and vomi-wheat is at about $145,” said Beusekom, noting better-quality grains have rallied, while the poorer-quality stuff has held steady.

Adverse weather and resulting harvest delays have left about 20 per cent of grain crops in the fields in Saskatchewan and Alberta, a fact which was behind some of the recent strength in the grain markets, according to Beusekom.

However, he added, prices were also following their typical seasonal trends.

“The seasonals tend to peak out at the end of October, early November. Then it likes to trade sideways through November/December, and then down through January/February.”

From a demand side, it’s “not great, but I’d call it decent,” he added.

For the grain still to be harvested, Beusekom said there were two camps, with some farmers still optimistic the harvest would get done, while others brace for a spring harvest.

“It will depend on what kind of weather we get in November,” he said.

Dry weather could help some fields get harvested, he said, but added that the window was closing.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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