Feed wheat, barley surplus could last until summer

CNS Canada — Supplies of feed wheat and barley in Western Canada continue to compete for a home in Lethbridge’s feedlot alley.

For the past few months markets have been grinding lower due to the large volumes of low-quality feed and other grains that are being unloaded by farmers.

At least one industry expert believes it will be a considerable period of time before those supplies run out.

“I think there’s still a ton out there,” said Jim Beusekom of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge. “Saskatchewan, in particular, has so much low-grade wheat out there. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Feed wheat seems to be holding steady at the $150-$155 per tonne level, he said, but barley appears to be weakening slightly. As of Wednesday, he pegged barley at $155-$162 a tonne.

What’s more, Beusekom said, there is still a significant amount of wheat left unharvested. He expects that to come off the field in a few months’ time.

“That’s likely feed grade as well,” said Beusekom.

Unless something drastic happens, markets will likely continue to idle for the remainder of the current marketing year, he said.

“When you get into the spring and summer, that’s when things could change. That’s when you start to look at what 2017 crop production will be,” he explained.

In other years, the possibility of a drought was something farmers could perhaps view as a way to lift prices, but Beusekom said that isn’t very likely this year.

“There’s nothing on the radar to give the farmer much hope for higher feed prices.”

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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