Blog: The Wheat Sheaf

Wheat and barley prices remain stable within week to week fluctuations

Wheat markets fall on strong planting data and international trade

All wheat markets faced a downward trend this week, as no new concerns were introduced into the markets. International grain trade continues to operate with no notable issues and the USDA crop update showed near normal progress in the planting of the 2020 crop. Spring wheat planting is ahead of the five-year average in Idaho and Washington and behind in Montana, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota. Winter wheat crops had 62% rated good to excellent this week. Minneapolis wheat market (which CWRS wheat is priced off of) have been pushed back. As of Thursday April 16, the nearby futures have lost 31 U.S. cents from the high this week and now sit at 5.06 U.S. cents per bushel, only 2 cents above the recent lows. Kansas futures pricing (for CPSR and CWRW) have fallen 32 U.S. cents from the high this week and now sit at 4.70 U.S. cents per bushel, still higher than the March low of 4.20 U.S. cents per bushel. 

Feed barley prices have remained fairly stable as of the time of writing. Concerns remain regarding the impact of COVID resulting in demand changes from both the malting and feedlots. While maltsters are signalling that lower demand for their products will result in decreased production. Farmers planning on growing malt barley are encouraged to check with their buyers for their local situation.

While reduced malting may result in more feed barley supplies, there is potential support for feed barley in the reductions in the slaughter of cattle. According to news articles, the Cargill High River facility has halted slaughter shifts this week, although the processing of carcasses continues. If feedlot inventories begin increasing, this may result in additional feed demand. It remains to be seen if feedlots will continue to demand barley, or begin to use substitutes of other feed grains.

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