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Wittal: Feed barley values slip

Aug. 24 — Financial markets started off with a bang today but fell off of the highs as the day went on, to finish with small gains at the close.

Economic news released by Statistics Canada today showed retail sales for June were up one per cent over the previous month, which was higher than was anticipated, so that helped to push the Canadian dollar higher again today.

The US dollar is up two-10ths of a cent today. The Canadian dollar is up 0.44 cents at US92.86 cents.

The Dow Jones September quote is up 31 points at 9,505.

Crude oil is up slightly, with the nearby month up 48 cents at US$74.37 per barrel.

Corn closed up seven to 10 cents a bushel today; beans closed up 30-57 cents a bushel.

Wheat futures closed up six to 15 cents a bushel on the various U.S. exchanges. Minneapolis September wheat futures closed up six cents a bushel today.

Canola closed up $3-$4 per tonne today. Barley is trading down $9 per tonne at $126.

As harvest is approaching we see that the value of feed barley is starting to drop, as is indicated by southern Alberta cash values that have dropped $10 per tonne this past week. Recently-reported bumper U.S. corn yields and the threat of frost on late crops here and in the U.S. have buyers in the feeding industry sitting back waiting to see what will happen and where prices will fall to.

Another recently completed crop tour in the US by Pro Farmer has also confirmed a potential bumper crop for corn and beans for the coming harvest. The concern again is that the crop is up to three weeks late in some states, which has many in the trade afraid of what a frost could do to volume and quality. The next two weeks will be critical as we watch the weather hoping to avoid a killing frost. 

Well, some may say that things are not so good in the agriculture industry when you read reports that Cargill’s year-over-year earnings decreased by 16 per cent to US$3.33billion. The key is to read further, to see that even with the 16 per cent drop in overall sales it is still Cargill’s second best year ever after last year’s record earnings of $3.95 billion, even with disappointing earnings from its fertilizer division, Mosaic Co.

It looks like some are still making a decent profit in the business of agriculture. 

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 he lped 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.

Brian 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.

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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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