CNS Canada — This year’s bumper harvest of Manitoba corn is making an impact at Alberta feedlots.
According to Market Place Commodities at Lethbridge, feed barley prices are near the $215 per tonne mark, down $5 from a few weeks ago.
“Corn is filling some of the volume demand, so it is keeping the price lower or at least keeping it from going up,” said the company’s Allen Pirness.
A lack of supply will likely keep barley from moving down much more, he said, but if corn gets significantly cheaper barley may have no choice.
While some corn continues to trickle in from the U.S., Pirness said most of it is coming from southern Manitoba.
“Line companies are using their own elevator system to load cars in Manitoba and ship it into southern Alberta,” he said.
Weather is another factor adding to the market softness. Pirness noted the days before Christmas typically see feedlots scrambling to get their hands on supplies — but that doesn’t seem to be occurring.
“Usually this time of year we’re cold and snowy and deliveries are suspect,” he said. “This year we’re warm and dry and everyone is able to make deliveries on time.”
Going forward, he said, there are some expectations that the market will be higher heading into February, which means some farmers may want to sell.
Prices might seem a touch soft right now, Pirness said, but pointed back to last year at this time when feed barley was closer to $165 a tonne.
“I think it (barley) will continue to take direction from corn. Whatever corn does, barley will do,” he said.
According to the latest estimate from Statistics Canada, Manitoba corn production will hit 1.27 million tonnes in 2017-18, up from last year’s crop of 1.17 million.
— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.