Feed weekly outlook: Barley prices strong

Jury still out on impact of China-Australia trade spat

Barley south of Ethelton, Sask. in early August 2017. (File photo by Dave Bedard)

MarketsFarm — Feed grain prices across the Prairies have been stronger during the week ended Thursday, buoyed by rainy conditions in southern Alberta coupled with steady demand.

“To fill the gaps, prices have had to go up,” said Allen Pirness of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge.

Prices for feed barley went up by about $5 per tonne over the past week, totalling around $230 per tonne, he said.

With inclement weather in key growing regions causing delays in harvesting overwintered crops, and seeding new crops, old-crop grain supplies may be tight.

“We’ll have to stretch out old-crop supplies for an extra week or two than we normally would,” Pirness said.

Export demand for Canadian barley could possibly get a boost from faltering relations between Australia and China. China recently imposed steep tariffs on Australian barley in response to Australia’s push for an independent investigation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Last year, China imported 2.5 million tonnes of Australian barley. Faced with an 80 per cent tariff, Australian barley imports may completely halt, and China may look to Canada to make up the difference.

“We’ll see if that turns into firmer new-crop bids,” said Pirness. “So far it hasn’t really perked things up, but we’ll see.”

— Marlo Glass reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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