If you haven’t noticed, winter has refused to let go.
Since its too cold to let cattle out to pasture, demand for feed grains like feed barley has continued to climb.
Feed prices are up, but because of it, many farmers are refusing to sell and waiting around for higher prices.
In Lethbridge, barley prices have been consistently rising. Right now barley is priced from $194.86 USD / metric tonne (or $4.24 USD / bushel and $5.33 CAD / bushel) to $197.24 USD / metric tonne (or $4.29 USD / bushel and $5.39 CAD / bushel).
There should be an increase in barley acres seeded in the spring. This is due to more than just the higher feed prices. The extended winter means there will be a shorter growing season, which favors barley. Also, the tariffs on pulses may cause farmers to replace their pulse plantings with barley.
The barley carryout is only expected to be 1 million tonnes, half of what it was last year. Without an increase in acres, barley stocks will be tight.
Late winter underpinning Prairie barley bids
Winnipeg (CNS Canada) – Lingering winter weather across the Canadian Prairies means cattle are eating more grain, but the possibility of delayed seeding also has farmers with grain to sell eyeing better prices.
“As the winter continues to hang on, cattle producers are continuing to have to feed (grain) until they can get their cattle out to pasture,” said Glen Loyns, general manager with JGL Commodities in Moose Jaw, Sask., noting that barley markets were seeing some strength as a result.
However, while the demand is there, “farmer participation is not,” he added. “With the long, extended winter we’re having, guys are just holding onto it for better pricing,” said Loyns pointing to the uncertainty over new crop production.
“Prices aren’t going down any time soon,” said Loyns.
Barley in the key feeding area of Lethbridge, Alta. have moved steadily higher over the past few months, with current bids in the C$245 to C$248 per tonne area, according to government data.
However, additional advances in feed grains may also be hard to come by.
Loyns estimated that there was still plenty of unpriced barley in the countryside, despite the aggressive export program this year. Corn imports from the United States and Manitoba are another factor keeping a lid on values.
Looking ahead to spring seeding, the solid feed pricing should encourage some acres. In addition, “as the winter continues to hang on, there’s a higher probability of barley going in the ground because of the shortened growing season,” said Loyns. While conditions can change quickly at this time of year, he added that there was still two feet of snow in some of the northern growing regions.