Malt barley market weaker with increased supplies

CNS Canada — Despite reports of quality issues this year, malt barley prices are soft, as increased quantity put a damper on the market.

Spot malt barley prices are about $4.75-$4.85 per bushel in Western Canada, Prairie Ag Hotwire data said, which compares with last year’s harvest prices of about $5.25-$5.75.

“We do have a lot more quantity this year than last year. There’s fairly large quantities of unchitted, unsprouted barley, consequently the domestic maltsters are close to being full,” said Rod Green of Central Ag Marketing Ltd.

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While domestic needs are mostly filled, ongoing exports are limiting further weakness in the market, he added.

Excess moisture throughout the growing season has caused some quality issues, he said, and producers are still assessing damage.

“Quality is maybe not looking as good as it did even a month ago,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of weather, which is never usually good for malt barley.”

The level of chitted — partially sprouted — barley was lower this year compared to last growing season, he said.

“But as we get further into this crop we’re seeing germination issues, so that’s not good.”

Total production of barley, which includes both malt and feed, is expected to be 8,704,300 tonnes this year, estimates from Statistics Canada said, compared to last year’s 8,225,700 tonnes.

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

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