Alberta cattle feeders are generally covered with their grain needs for the time being and prices should remain under pressure for the next few months as spring-harvested grain will also soon be looking for a home.
“Right now, especially for March movement, a lot of feedlots have very sufficient coverage,” said Suzanne Leclerc, owner of Market Master Ltd. in Edmonton.
In addition, blockades disrupting rail movement to export positions at the coast were seeing more grain divert to domestic feed channels, said Leclerc.
Bids typically see some strength in the spring as end-users need to provide the incentive for farmers to deliver at seeding time. However, a large portion of grain was left to overwinter this year due to the adverse fall conditions, and the anticipation of that spring-threshed barley was keeping April and May prices under pressure, said Leclerc.
Further out, she said there were some better pricing opportunities available for June. At the time of writing, barley was currently priced in the $220- to $225-per-tonne area delivered into the key Lethbridge, Alta. feeding area.
While prices may be under pressure, Leclerc noted that there are still plenty of pricing options for farmers with off-spec grain they need to move.