Wittal: Barley’s rally from road bans short-lived

Our online grain markets columnist Brian Wittal welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.

March 24 — Financial markets gave back a little of yesterday’s gains as profit-taking was the order of the day. The key here is, will the markets be able to hold onto the balance of yesterday’s gains going forward, or will they give it all back over the next few days?

The Dow Jones closed down 115 points. The U.S. dollar finished up 0.7 cents. The Canadian dollar is up 0.14 to close at US81.63 cents. Crude oil finished even to up slightly, closing at US$53.98 per barrel.

Corn finished down one to two cents per bushel, beans are up one to 12 cents per bushel, and wheat is down 13-16 cents per bushel. Canola is up $2-$4 per tonne and barley finished down $1.50 per tonne.

Barley is following corn’s lead, slowly lower. We did see a bit of a rally up earlier that was attributed to spring and road bans but now it seems that has ended. If spring lingers on and seeding is late we may see a bit of a rally back into the $160-per-tonne ranges if feeders start to run out of current supplies and need to top up supplies.

Wheat markets fell today as weather forecasts were revised from “continued dry conditions” to “significant rains” over the next week in some of the southern U.S. Plains regions. The rising U.S. dollar also added pressure to wheat futures today.

Beans were up mainly because of the continued support from the Argentine farmers’ strike and this helped to support canola, but the rising Canadian dollar kept it in check.

The price for cotton in China has dropped rather dramatically and producers are now looking at switching as many as 1.5 million to two million acres back into grains, purely from a profit perspective. Increased acres of corn, beans and wheat will add to domestic supplies, which could have an impact on Chinese imports next year and pressure world prices lower if China is not in the markets buying.

Between eight and 12 inches of wet snow fell in the Calgary area Saturday night and Sunday and we are expecting a couple of more inches tomorrow. So much for the first day of spring and an early start to seeding.

That’s all for today. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

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Brian Wittal

Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry experience and currently offers market planning and marketing advice to farmers through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.

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