Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Time running out for high durum prices

CNS Canada –– Good-quality durum has enjoyed large premiums over other wheat classes this past year, but opportunities for any unpriced durum still left to sell may be getting harder to find, as attention turns to large global new-crop projections.

Durum prices today are topping out at about $9.75 per bushel in Saskatchewan, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data, which compares to CWRS bids in the province as high as C$6.20 per bushel.

While new-crop CWRS bids are relatively in line with spot prices, any new-crop durum prices available are at least $2 below the nearby values, according to market participants.

“Our prices will be dropping off,” said one durum exporter, noting his company was already booked solid for old-crop durum well into June.

“We’re not aggressively pursuing any more sales at this time,” he said, adding that other grain handlers were likely in a similar situation. As a result, he expected spot bids would soon start coming down to the new-crop levels.

Mexico, northern Africa and Argentina will soon be harvesting their crops beginning in April, and “conditions look good,” according to the exporter.

Poor quality, moreso than tight supplies, was behind the strength in durum over the past year, he said.

While quality remains to be seen, the better old-crop prices over the past year are expected to draw in more acreage in 2015. The grain broker said a 10 to 15 per cent rise in planted durum area was likely in Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada now forecasts durum area in 2014-15 at 5.46 million acres, which would be up from 4.74 million the previous year and the largest seeded area in six years.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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