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Wittal: Traders await stocks reports

Farm Business Communications is starting off the new year with a new daily grain marketing commentary for our Alberta Farmer, Grainews, Manitoba Co-operator and Country Guide West websites. It’s prepared by Brian Wittal, who has spent more than 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, 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 a grain producers. He welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area.

Jan. 8 — Markets were quiet today with very little movement on the grains. Corn was off 10 cents per bushel, beans off two cents per bushel, wheat off three cents per bushel, canola was up $2-plus per tonne for old-crop and down $2 a tonne for new-crop, and barley was off 40 cents per tonne. Crude oil fell another $1 per barrel to close at US$41.70 a barrel.

Traders are backing away from the markets, awaiting the grain stocks reports coming out in the U.S. on Monday. Corn is expected to have its carryout numbers revised upward while beans and wheat are expected to be neutral. If the numbers are anything different than expected, markets will no doubt react accordingly.

The Canadian Wheat Board released a marketing report yesterday that states it expects to sell a record number of tonnes of wheat and malting barley this crop year, which is welcome news.

Reducing the number of tonnes of grain that will be carried over should help to stabilize prices going into next year.

Rumours on the grain vine are that some companies are again looking for AC Metcalfe malting barley for selection. If you have some, talk to your selectors and get your samples in.

Now is the time of year to be planning for spring and what you will seed so that you can estimate your production and start putting together a marketing plan and pricing some new-crop grain at profitable levels.

Start checking seed supply and do some input-purchase shopping to see who has the best prices for spring. Get a handle on what your costs per acre are going to be so you can start making proper marketing decisions for new crop.

The possibility of a strike on the West Coast is still very real. The union has been in a position to strike since Jan. 2, but negotiations are ongoing and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has made a proposal to the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association that it’s to respond to by tomorrow.

Who wants to predict what will happen here?

Get ready for a labour disruption!

That’s all for today, more intel tomorrow. — Brian

About the author

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Columnist

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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