Another month gone, and we could have snow in less than 30 days if we are unlucky. I know many areas in western Canada would like to see a big snowpack for the moisture. Trouble with snow in my experience is that it all blows into the bin yards and corrals, and you end up moving the same snowflake 20 times in the winter. Especially with a Halloween start for winter. That is the only thing that is for sure in this business of agriculture is that you have no control over the weather.
Since I composed the September newsletter, we have had some interesting things happen to the grain market. The fool we have in Ottawa has managed to alienate the two biggest countries in the world. Not a problem for him but it will hit everyone involved in agriculture in the pocketbook. The Mississippi River is as low as it has ever been. With barges being light loaded and dredging continuing at a fast pace to try to keep traffic volumes near normal. This likely will affect movement of corn to export and shipment of fertilizer into the heart of North America. So, corn will get cheaper, and fertilizer will likely go up. As I mentioned in the September newsletter, the USA having trouble exporting old crop corn was impacting feed grains prices all over the Midwest and Canada. We had seen feed barley stabilize around the $6.00/bus mark in MB in the middle of September. Unfortunately, the trend has become downward since mid month. We are now trading $5.75ish in Western MB.
Oats are still holding their own with $6.00/bus delivered Eastern MB for Jan/Feb/Mar (that is $5.50 picked up most locations). The pulses are holding firm. Yellow peas have been trending up towards the end of the month. With $11.00 picked up for glyphos and GMO-free peas for Jan/Feb/Mar movement. Feed wheat has taken a beating as corn has become so cheap. Trading sub $9.00 picked up for good quality wheat. Even at that price it doesn’t pull into rations vs $7.20 delivered corn. It is only being used in some rations that require it. With it being a decent harvest season, we haven’t seen much true feed wheat yet. I think it is out there. If you can’t get a good deal from your local line company, give us a call to help shop it for you.
We have seen a bit of life in the Malt market with $7.50/bus picked up SK and MB, subject to sample approval of course. This is good to see as there is a fair bit of good barley not contracted out there. If you have either Synergy or Copeland, we have buyers looking so give us a call. For reference feed barley is trading at $7.00/bus delivered to feedlot alley in Southern Alberta.
Here in MB producers have been very fortunate as they on average have a good crop. We have heard some disappointing yields but have heard some amazing ones too. 125 bus feed barley, 60 bus canola, 90 bus HRS wheat. It is truly amazing what can be grown with very limited rainfall if it arrives at the right time. Heading west yields start to trend down with reports of things being extremely spotty but better than expected for most growers. Better than expected is not saying much as many areas in SW Saskatchewan and Southern Alberta were expected to be sub 10 bus. Heading north of Highway 1 we are hearing reports of average crops with some areas having excellent crops but the spottiness continuing. Overall average yields are down from 2022 but not near as bad as 2021.
Most buyers seem to be working hand to mouth. Just buying what they need for next month. I think they are concerned about how big the impact from political disputes here and in the US will affect the ability to export both Canadian and US grains. No one can afford to be caught long if things get worse.
Now to some housekeeping. Harvest is a stressful time for all parties involved (producers, grain buyers, grain processors, truckers, brokers and the list goes on). I will be the first to admit that not everything will go as planned here at Quality Grain. We have seen August contracts drag over 30 days, and we appreciate the patience our producers have shown when this happens. Your voices do not fall on deaf ears; we are working diligently behind the scenes with our buyers to see if there are other options on the contracts. Harvest pressure is real as volumes often outpace capacity, unfortunately end users accidently over buy, or trains aren’t coming as quickly as expected, machinery breaks down, and on and on.
Another important house cleaning topic is the verbal agreement for us to draw up a Brokers Note is binding. Failure to receive or failure to read your Brokers Note does not void the contract. If you do not receive the Brokers Note let us know immediately. It is important that you read the Brokers Note as it has all the terms of the deal that have been negotiated on them. After you read it, please either sign it and return a signed copy to either firstname.lastname@example.org, or respond to the email with a “confirmed” so we know you have read it. If there are any issues this is the time to bring it up. Fortunately, 99.9% of producers are honorable people and don’t even need a signed contract. Their word is good enough. But please read it over. The same applies to our buyers that we work with. I mentioned this as we had three instances last month of people on both sides not honoring their commitment. Anyone that thinks they are getting away with something should realize that the grain industry is small and closely knit.
As an example, last spring I had an email from a buyer regarding some barley we were showing from one area. He said if this is “Joe Blow” don’t deal with him. He won’t honor his contracts. Everyone feels the same way. I have had farmers mention buyers who are problems too. But like I said 99.9 % are great people. We just kick the 0.1% to the curb where they belong. Please read your Brokers Note. Having not read and confirmed it is not a reason to void a deal.
Till next month,
Marketer - Brandon, MB
204-729-1354 - Office
204-761-8320 - Cell