Feed weekly outlook: Prairie prices remain strong

Exports, domestic use both up on year

Barley. (Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

MarketsFarm — Feed grain prices in Western Canada held steady during the first week of December as solid export demand from China continues to underpin the domestic feed market.

“Demand has backed off a little bit for December. We’ve seen a flattening [of prices], but I think that’s just a step back for now,” said Glen Loyns, trader and general manager of JGL Commodities at Moose Jaw, Sask.

To Loyns, the market remains dominated by grain exports to China, which have seen a significant uptick at this point in the 2020-21 marketing year.

“Feed barley is what they want to buy. It looks like this is going to continue into the New Year,” he added.

In the most recent export report from the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), barley exports to China have ballooned by more than 205 per cent as of the end of October of the current marketing year. Those exports were nearly 812,000 tonnes compared to about 266,000 tonnes the same point in 2019-20.

In addition, the commission reported wheat exports to China were approaching 662,000 tonnes for a jump of 146 per cent. Peas were up 62 per cent at about 969,000 tonnes and canola rose 88 per cent at over 716,000 tonnes.

Supplies of feed barley and wheat, along with several other grains, remain good at this time, according to Loyns.

“It’s going to be an interesting year when it comes to late winter and early spring, as to what supplies could look like,” he said.

The CGC noted exports and domestic use have been up overall in 2020-21. Exports 17 weeks into 2020-21 were at 18.9 million tonnes versus 14.17 million a year ago. Domestic use was at 6.92 million tonnes compared to 6.58 million the same point in 2019-20.

Prairie Ag Hotwire reported feed barley prices in Alberta climbed 11 cents per bushel for the week ended Dec. 8, ranging from $4.75 to $6.10/bu., with the latter at a year high. For Manitoba, prices bumped up two cents at $4.45-$4.52. However, prices slipped 35 cents in Saskatchewan, at $4.75-$5.

Feed wheat saw prices remain firm in Saskatchewan at $5.50-$6.75/bu. In Alberta prices rose eight cents at $5.78-$7.56/bu., while in Manitoba they dropped 27 cents at $6.03/bu.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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