Last weekend I was at a shop party with many of my neighbours in Picture Butte. Get a bunch of farmers, ranchers and feedyard owners together and what else is there to talk about other than grain prices and hockey. Barley was definitely the topic of discussion at several tables. For me its very interesting to listen to the justification, reasons and prayers for higher or lower prices depending whether you are buyer or a seller. If you really listen to people you learn very quickly who pre-sold, pre-bought or is running through a snow drift in December.
Barley has floated towards $200 a MT for the past three months and some are believers and some people are skeptical of its continued rise. What has really caused the confusion is the fact that many feeders assumed there would be mountains of feed grains available based on the late harvest in much of Western Canada. I had more than one feed yard owner tell me last week that they thought barley would never get over $150 or $160. Meanwhile the farmer is either pleased that the price has pushed to $195 or is regretting listening to feedlot owners by selling most of the crop at $160. The joys of crop marketing.
Now that feed barley is getting close to $200, what will be the story in 2011? Will this be the top or will the price of feed barley just move through this supposed ceiling like its made of toothpicks? I chatted with Mike Jubinville, ProFarmer Canada about the supply of feed grains in Western Canada and the international market. Mike talks about why even though there was a late harvest and lots of feed wheat graded the supplies are not as long as you might think. We also discuss Mike’s forecast for feed barley in 2011.
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