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Feed weekly outlook: Corn imports still weigh on domestic feed market

Ample corn imports from the U.S. continue to keep the western Canadian feed grain market under pressure, with barley bids in Lethbridge trending lower through the early days of 2023.

“We started the year with cash barley trading at roughly $450 (per tonne) in Lethbridge, it’s since declined to roughly $435,” said Jim Beusekom of Market Place Commodities in Lethbridge, adding that “the culprit (in the price decline) would be corn.”

Unit trains of corn from the U.S. are coming up into inland terminals in southern Alberta, and trading at a similar price as barley.

“Corn is available,” Beusekom said, noting while prices may be similar for the two grains, barley offers are thin while corn is much easier for feedlots to book.

Once cattle are on a corn ration it can be difficult to switch back to barley, which will likely mean the declining market share for barley will keep the downtrend in place at least until attention shifts back to spring seeding and new-crop production ideas.

While the barley market may be under pressure, current prices are still near the top 10 per cent of all-time highs.

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