Feed weekly outlook: Shortages expected for Prairie barley

APAS calls for livestock tax deferral program

barley
Barley south of Ethelton, Sask. on Aug. 3, 2017. (Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada — Sales have slowed for feed grain buyers in Western Canada, as concerns continue to mount about feed shortages.

“The confidence from the farmer is not (there anymore). He just wants to see some crop come into his bin. So we’ve definitely slowed in our buying,” said Brandon Motz, sales manager at CorNine Commodities at Lacombe, Alta.

Possible feed barley shortages aren’t the only concern on people’s minds as reports from across the Prairies point to hay shortages and shrivelled pastures. With less grazing and fewer feed options there is talk that some producers are considering selling cattle earlier than normal this year.

“When you hear (cattle) have to come off of grass early and end up in the feedlots, that’s not a good sign,” Motz said.

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), in a release Wednesday, called on the federal government to implement a 2018 livestock tax deferral program for all Saskatchewan producers. This would allow producers who sell part of a cattle herd due to drought to defer a portion of the taxable sale proceeds to the following year.

Manitoba Agriculture’s weekly crop report on Monday said haying was continuing, but with low yields. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s crop report from Aug. 7 pegged first-cut hay yields at one tonne per acre, below the five-year average of 1.5 tonnes.

According to Motz, feed grain prices have started to settle after hitting highs earlier this month. Feed barley for September through December delivery is currently at around $255 per tonne, but Motz has seen offers for up to $260 per tonne for December.

There is concern that there won’t be enough barley available for feed. Motz has only heard of a few combines rolling in his area and early reports are that while quality is OK, yields are lower than expected.

“I think it’s fair to say that there won’t be enough barley around to only feed barley,” Motz said, adding that currently it looks like corn will be the best option to supplement feed.

Corn for delivery to Lethbridge in October through December is currently sitting around $252-$254 per tonne, while January to March delivery is higher at $262-$264 per tonne.

According to Motz, the bulk of the corn trades are currently coming by rail from the U.S., in 100-car units, but some are also coming from Manitoba.

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

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