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Prairie feed barley softens as packers bid up cattle

CNS Canada — Feed barley prices in the Lethbridge area are showing signs of softening as the February lull approaches and warmer weather moves into the province.

According to Allan Pirness of Market Place Commodities, both feed barley and feed wheat prices are around the $220 per tonne mark, down a touch from the pre-Christmas spike.

“The deliveries are back on schedule,” he said.

Cold weather at the end of December had resulted in a slightly higher price, he said, but the temperatures are becoming milder and driving conditions are better.

Bids could creep lower, he added, as a lot of finished cattle are leaving the feedlots.

“They are shipping them out earlier than they would normally, because the packers are bidding them up pretty good,” said Pirness.

Some cattle that were supposed to be shipped out later this month or in February are already gone, he said.

“That has made a lower demand for barley here as we go into the February market,” he said.

Pirness doesn’t expect to see a return to the highs of late December until the summertime at the earliest. However, he said, that still depends on whether the flood of corn that has entered the province still continues to pile up.

“The abundance of corn coming from southern Manitoba has muted the likelihood of a near-term rally of any substance,” he said.

Last week’s USDA supply and demand report also weighed down the wheat market, further adding to barley’s competition, he said.

“There’s no incentive for prices to stay up,” said Pirness. “It looks like forward prices here are under some pressure going forward so there’s no real incentive to hang on.”

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

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