CNS Canada –– Timely rains have drastically improved the forage crop outlooks for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, while also putting prices back into their normal ranges.
“Skyrocketing hay prices have stabilized… supplies are good,” said Terry Kowalchuk, a provincial forage crop specialist in Regina.
Prices are mostly back down into the $80-$100 per tonne range, he added. “Some people had been asking $120 or $140.”
Dry conditions early in the year were threatening the viability of the forage crop, but rain in the latter stages of the summer helped them recover. Good soil moisture saved them, Kowalchuk said.
“It probably was one of the driest springs on record… without the spring soil moisture we would have been in dire straits.”
It was a similar situation in Manitoba, according to another industry watcher.
“Earlier in the year we were looking at potential feed shortages in the southwest and northwest areas of the province,” said John McGregor of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association.
Timely rains late in the growing season enabled farmers to get a second cut in those areas that was average to above average, he added. “We’re looking for average yields in most of the province.”
Most of the soil in the province is also “fully charged,” which bodes well for next spring.
Forage prices are slightly below last year’s. Alfalfa is at the eight cents per pound range; alfalfa mixtures were in the five cents per pound range.
Grass/hay mixtures were in the three- to 3.5-cent range, according to McGregor.
— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.