Hursh: Grain market observations

I don’t claim to be a market analyst, just an analyst of analysts. I follow several market commentaries quite closely and have a few observations about which crops seem to have upside market potential and which ones don’t.

Wheat and durum prices have diverged and this could continue. Wheat prices have been steady to softer of late while durum has made steady gains. The short Canadian durum crop is a major factor in the international marketplace.

While CWRS wheat is in the $10 a bushel range, durum is now commonly quoted at around $15. Many durum growers are bullish remembering the big price runup in 2021. That’s holding product off the market. Whether durum will hit $20 again is anyone’s guess, but many growers are betting that it still has more upside.

Meanwhile, feed barley is seeing price declines. Less than $7.00 a bushel is commonly quoted FOB farm in Saskatchewan. Lots of American corn is moving into the feedlots of southern Alberta. As well, now that China has repealed is punitive tariff on Australian barley, Aussie barley is likely to replace a lot of Canadian barley in that market.

The glut of oats from last year is slowly being whittled down. Prices in the $4 to $4.50 range aren’t too exciting, but there may eventually be upside potential.

Green apparently means money or at least it does for green lentils and green peas. Large green lentils are approaching 60 cents per pound, while red lentils, although slightly improved, are only at about 35 cents a pound. In peas, greens are quoted at prices of nearly $15 a bushel while yellow peas are only around $10.

The big increase in mustard seeded acreage should have caused a major dampening of mustard prices. Instead, the dry conditions in the main mustard growing regions has meant firm and attractive price levels.

Canary seed has shown some strength and is being quoted at 42 to 43 cents a pound.

Flax acreage is way down. Returns just couldn’t compete with other crops and producers hate dealing with the residue issue after harvest. However, flax is showing a bit of price improvement with quotes around $15 a bushel.

What can you say about canola? Perhaps the best description is volatile. It drops like a stone and then goes on a run to recoup some or all of the losses. I won’t even venture a guess as to the price direction in the weeks ahead.

More from