Feed weekly outlook: Spring rally unlikely

A barley crop south of Ethelton, Sask. on July 30, 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

MarketsFarm — Feed grain bids in Western Canada have held relatively steady over the past month despite large moves in many outside markets. However, a number of factors may weigh on values heading into the spring.

Feed barley is trading in the $4-$4.95 per bushel area in Alberta, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data. Prices top out at just over $4 per bushel in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Feed bids typically see some strength in the spring, as farmers turn their attention to spring seeding and away from delivering grain. Spring road bans that hamper logistics can also lend some support.

However, a large amount of spring-harvested grain will soon be looking for a home across the Prairies, and the anticipation of those deliveries should be limiting nearby demand.

Large carryout supplies and expectations for increased Canadian barley acres in 2020 are another limiting factor.

In addition, declining beer demand, as bars and sporting events shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, may cause some malt barley to move into feed channels instead.

A number of brewers and distillers have already shifted some production capabilities away from making beverages and are making hand sanitizer in an effort to help fight the virus.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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