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Some Producers Aiming Even Higher for Barley, Wheat

Barley and other feedgrain prices may already be high, but some Prairie producers appear content to wait for even more gains.

Mike Fleischhauer of Eagle Commodities Ltd. in Lethbridge, said there are strong-handed producers looking for barley to reach $12 to $13/bu and wheat to hit $15/bu before finally opening their bins. “You get guys who don’t have to pay bills and they’re just going to sit on it,” he said.

Feed barley has been fetching over $9/bu (delivered) in parts of Alberta, with feed wheat nearing $11.50.

This year’s severe drought and excessive heat across the Prairies has led to shortages of a variety of grains, including barley and wheat. Last month’s Statistics Canada crop production report pegged 2021 national barley output at 7.14 million tonnes, down 33.5% from a year ago. All wheat production is forecast by StatsCan at 21.71 million tonnes, a fall of just over 38%

“One thing we are sure of is we are running out of inventory, barley, for sure, and we’re 11 months away from new crop,” Fleischhauer said. “Every tonne that goes overseas or gets fed is a tonne less. We still have until August to the middle of September until harvest starts again,”

However, higher price ideas for barley and wheat could be cooled as newly harvested US corn begins making its way into Western Canada. Indeed, some major Prairie feedlots are reportedly extending corn coverage for November through July. Still, if US corn continues to hold up at current prices, or inches higher, the downside in barley may be limited.

For his part, Fleischhauer said he’s not entirely sure of how the market will react to a greater influx of US corn.

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