Feed weekly outlook: No surprises in latest barley numbers

Barley south of Ethelton, Sask. in early August 2017. (File photo by Dave Bedard)

MarketsFarm — Following the release of monthly supply and demand estimates from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Thursday, Brandon Motz of CorNine Commodities at Lacombe, Alta. wasn’t surprised at how low the numbers dropped, particularly for barley.

Motz commented the harvest hasn’t been as good as initially thought, noting the AAFC report confirmed the situation for crops on the Canadian Prairies with the severe drought.

In AAFC’s monthly forecast, 2021-22 barley production was chopped by 31.6 per cent, to 7.45 million tonnes.

Should that number hold, it would be the smallest barley crop Canada has produced since the 7.12 million tonnes in 2014, according to Statistics Canada.

AAFC’s report also lopped barley feed, waste and dockage by 23.4 per cent from last month, to 5.05 million tonnes. Plus the department hacked 45.3 per cent off of exports, estimating those at 2.05 million tonnes. Ending stocks for 2021-22 were cut from 500,000 tonnes in July to 300,000.

However, Motz said his attention will focus on the survey-based Statistics Canada production report due out Monday.

Regardless of which federal government report, he stressed barley prices will need to be higher — which, he countered, can only go so far as demand for barley will decline when prices become too expensive.

“[People] will be looking for ways to supplement the barley,” Motz said.

Over the last month feed barley prices have shot up by between 22 cents and $1.01 per bushel, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire. In Alberta, barley prices are $6.64-$9.25 per bushel. Saskatchewan is at $7.13-$8.01, while Manitoba is at $6.50-$7.42.

In the meantime, he said, corn imports have been helping out with “lots of unit trains.”

AAFC on Thursday adjusted its 2021-22 corn imports from 1.3 million tonnes in July up to two million. As well, corn feed, waste and dockage was projected to increase from 6.59 million tonnes to 9.38 million.

Table: AAFC barley estimates, in millions of tonnes.

Category 2020-21.   . July 2021.  . August 2021
Production 10.741 10.891 7.450
Feed/waste/dockage.    . 6.409 6.592 5.051
Exports 4.500 3.750 2.050
Ending stocks 0.500 0.500 0.300

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