Don't run out of calendar when committing to grain sales

The bulls and bears are fighting for dominance in this fresh calendar year — and there are some major factors at play weighing down some markets, but fuelling others.

Wendy White, grain marketing manager with Viterra, says there’s no shortage of news and reports feeding in to the grain markets. From last week’s WASDE report, to the potential signing of the Phase 1 U.S./China trade deal, with political turmoil, fund re-balancing, and big carryouts — there is both bullish and bearish news in the mix.

White explains as farmers continue to move out grain and begin to price new crop, it’s important to dig in to the current supply and demand equation. “We still have large supply. We have large Canadian supply on-farm. We have Canadian supply on farm that is tougher and damper than normal,” she says. And there’s still some grain in the field, too.

That said, demand will be the wild card for at least the next few months. While there’s certainly optimism heading in to this week, White says there’s still the concern over capacity in Canada: capacity to move grain, weather woes, and the potential to “run out of calendar.” What does that mean? Don’t wait too long to price grain if there is a bump in prices, White says, as before you know it we’ll be in to spring with more crop going in the ground and new crop coming off fields in other parts in the world, putting a drag on supply. (Story continues below)

Looking ahead, White says she is perhaps least optimistic for canola prices. There was some heavy selling in December, but with a big carryover predicted she cautions farmers not to be the ones left holding the grain. There will be 20 million more acres in the ground in the spring, she predicts.

To the good, she sees real potential in local and domestic markets for wheat, oats, and barley, and thinks lentils will hold steady.

When looking at net profit, she adds we need a break from some other commodities.  Feed markets, niche markets, and malt barley all move a farmer closer to the end-user, potentially securing better prices (or at least easier movement).

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