October 21, 2008


Canada's feed grain supplies seen ample for domestic market


Feed grain supplies in western Canada should be more than adequate to meet the demand in the upcoming year, which is seen to limit imports of US corn.


Canada produced 27.266 million tonnes of wheat in 2008-09, up from 20.054 million the previous year, according to Statistics Canada data. Barley production is estimated at 11.219 million tonnes, up from 10.984 million tonnes in 2007-08.


Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis with the Canadian Wheat Board, said that "despite our earlier concerns, it looks like it will be a normal feed wheat crop, in terms of the percentage of the crop that will grade as feed."


The percentage of Canada's wheat crop that grades as feed usually varies between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to Burnett. While there were some areas that saw frosted grain and other downgrading factors this year, he said the overall percentage of feed wheat would be closer to 5 percent this year.


In terms of barley, fewer acres were planted specifically to feed barley varieties this year, Burnett said. However, rain in the middle of September left some of the barley harvested after that unsuitable for malt, he added.


Burnett said there would be "a reasonable availability" of feed barley, noting that the majority of the barley crop will be marketed domestically as feed, as is normally the case.


Overall, he said feed grain supplies in western Canada would be adequate to meet demand, but not overly large.


"We have ample supplies for our domestic market," said Dave Guichon, of Ag Value Brokers in Alberta. Given better- than-average yield, he said the carryout numbers of both feed barley and feed wheat would increase on the year.


Guichon added that "there's no export business to speak of for feed barley," which will keep more for the domestic market. Farmers are also holding ample supplies of feed wheat, but he said they would not market it until they see if they can get the wheat blended up and receive a better price.


With domestic feed grain supplies more than sufficient to meet demand, Guichon said he didn't expect to see any significant imports of US corn for feeding livestock.

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