Lethbridge feed barley prices move upward, watch U.S. corn

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

CNS Canada — Hot, dry conditions in Alberta and western Saskatchewan are delaying and stressing this year’s barley crop — but action in U.S. corn is now the barley market’s primary driver, according to one expert.

“This recent rally in corn has helped barley and feed wheat move higher; we’re in a market driven by corn, which leads us to believe that the ending stocks in barley are low enough that corn matters,” said Allen Pirness of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge.

Feed barley was sitting around the $220 per tonne mark early last week when the rally in corn pushed it up into the $250s.

“We’ve seen some stuff trade as high as $260, for this crop year,” said Pirness. He added he wasn’t sure of prices in Vancouver, but suspected that domestically, feed barley is at higher values than on the export market.

He said he’s heard of some feedlots that are already bringing in corn to offer buyers, and estimates it could be delivered into lots around $270-$275 per tonne — extremely close to barley values.

“Nutritionally, corn has a premium value to barley because (corn) has more energy,” he said.

Recent moisture is also helping to alleviate some of the pressures facing feed barley, he added.

“Weekend rains and cooler weather have kind of turned the tide a little bit, maybe we’ve seen the top of it; corn is down a dime today so maybe we’re seeing things roll over a bit,” he said.

In Montana, barley continues to be shipped north from malt growers in the state who wound up with a lot of poor-quality acres last year.

“They’ve been moving barley north all crop year,” said Pirness.

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

 

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