February has been a very interesting month for grain markets across the country. There is so much uncertainty as to what will happen with the stock market (down almost 20% last week), corona virus, rail line blockages and if our government will do their job and try to help the west, instead of hurt us.
We have been taking the time to talk to many of our buyers for both local and off shore markets and they are all telling us the same thing. They are all very concerned about being long in this volatile market so rather than bid aggressively they are just buying what they need week by week. This is making it much harder to extract a premium for bigger lots of grain.
We have seen feed barley bounce up and down through out Feb. FOB farm Western MB & Eastern SK. $3.70 to $4.00 depending on the day, moisture, and location. AB markets have traded in the $225 to $230 delivered Lethbridge. Feed wheat bids have had a similar ride in Feb. Western MB/Eastern SK low vom, 58lb, dry feed wheat is seeing $5.00 in SK to $5.30 in Western MB. We have been seeing $230 delivered Lethbridge as well for wheat. We have been trading tough wheat with discounts up to 16.9 after that it becomes what the buyer can work with.
Tough grain is being discounted $5/MT per point of moisture in just about all markets. There is a bunch of tough grain in the bins so I don’t see the buyers backing off on their discounts anytime soon. Now that we are into March it could be as little as 6 weeks before we start to see spring thrashed barley and wheat. This isn’t going to help the feed market especially into AB. As there will be the risk of excreta in the grain many hog operations won’t buy spring thrashed. I think there might be enough spring thrashed feed wheat around that some of the line companies will be buying it. But this will depend if the rail issues with the blockages gets solve immediately. Otherwise the rail lines will have no capacity to move spring thrashed grain.
Milling oats have taken the biggest drop since mid January. We had bids of close to $4 in central and eastern MB at that time. They are currently in the $3.70 range with bids backing of by the freight differential as you move west. We do still have good movement if you have milling oats on hand. We have buyers interested in feed oats as well.
Peas have been interesting with all these issues with China struggling with industrial shut downs or slow downs. The people will still have to eat but it is slowing demand. One of our biggest problems is the lack of reliable transport in Canada. No one wants to buy Canadian when they can’t be sure we can fill their ships when they arrive at Canadian ports. 50 ships waiting on the west coast right now.
Freight is still being difficult to source at reasonable prices. It seems that the lack of qualified drivers is a big part of the problem along with rising fuel costs. It could be that the current freight rates are the new normal.
I thought it might be of interest to you if I did a bit of a run down on the Brokers who work for Quality Grain. I will start with myself.
Richard Chambers – Brandon MB
Born in the Boissevain MB area and lived and farmed there until he retired in 2004.
Has a Diploma in Agriculture from the U of M -1975
Had a mixed farming operation of small grains and purebred Simmental cattle.
Worked for Eastman Feeds in Brandon for 2 years then join Quality Grain. I have a total of 14 years experience as a grain broker and still enjoy talking to producers.
John Falk – Altona MB
Born in Winkler MB and was raised and farmed south of Winkler until he retired in 2004. Produced both small grains and corn.
Has a Diploma in Agriculture from the U of M – 1975
Served on municipal council as councillor and reeve for 15 years.
Hauled grain for Seed-ex for 5 years after he retired from farming.
Has been working with Quality Grain for the last 5 years. Helping producers in MB and in central Alberta. He is our corn guy.
Grain in demand:
We are looking for dry, 58lb, low vom feed wheat in MB or Eastern SK. $5.25 Brandon MB.
Feed oats in MB, SK and AB
Looking for feed chickpeas in Southern SK.
Yellow Peas into Crossfield AB for June.
Heated or Green Canola in MB, SK and AB
If you are looking for any help checking prices just give anyone of us a call.
John Falk Richie Yaremko
Marketer – Altona MB Marketer – Yorkton SK
Victor Dorma Reed McDonald
Marketer - Airdrie AB Owner/Marketer – Calgary AB.
Marketer, Vulcan AB
204-729-1354 – office
204-761-8320 - cell