Feeder cattle head south as feed grain supplies tighten in Western Canada

More feeder cattle in Western Canada are heading to the U.S. for finishing because of tight feed supplies, according to industry officials.

And springtime road restrictions are further reducing supplies of feed wheat and barley.

“Seasonally, we’re going into a time of year where moving grain is difficult from the farm gate to the end-user,” said Jim Beusekom, a trader with Marketplace Commodities in Lethbridge, Alberta. “Even if there are supplies physically on the farm, it’s hard to get them to the end-user.”

But alternative feeding options are becoming more attractive because the price for distillers dried grains with solubles from the U.S. is falling, he said.

“Corn distillers grains are trading about 10 to 15 per cent higher than barley or wheat, which is right in line because they’re worth that much more,” said Beusekom. “So on a relative feed value, corn distillers grains are the cheapest commodity.”

Feed barley values in Lethbridge were around $251.32 per tonne as of April 11 while feed wheat prices in the region averaged $265.13, according to the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.

About the author

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Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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