Feed grain demand up, quality in the air for 2017

Cereal grains Photo: Thinkstock

By Jade Markus
OrganicBiz staff

Since last month, demand for organic feed grains has had a seasonal bounce, while other commodities are sitting mostly flat.

Cold weather has lent itself to increased purchases of feed grains such as barley, wheat, and corn. Despite higher demand, there hasn’t been much of a price bump, as supplies are ample.

“That’s the norm when we hit winter. In cold weather animals need more feed, and more of them are on feed,” said Scott Shiels of Grain Millers, Inc.

Milling quality products have seen limited price movement, said Richard Reimer of Growers International Organic Sales, Inc.

“We’re seeing a little more competition from the U.S. again,” he said, which has kept a lid on prices.

Buyers are assessing quality for a better sense of market direction in 2017.

“They’re kind of sitting on their hands until they see what kind of quality there is — before they go out and buy it,” Shiels said.

Quality is generally good, he said, but he named brown flax as one crop that has struggled to meet grade this year.

Demand for organic crops is still strong, Shiels said, a trend he expects to continue into the New Year. However, buyers are mostly filled, and will be waiting a few months before pursuing further purchases.

“We’re basically sitting full, and the next few months will be a little quieter, then we’ll have to start filling again in the spring, summer,” Shiels said.

Food-grade wheat could see a price bump in coming months, Reimer said.

“There’s a slight chance pricing could jump if flour mills in particular pick up,” he said.

That will be decided by how well mills stock inventories for January and into the summer.

Further into the New Year, market participants will be watching for new crop plans, Reimer said.

New crops indications are expected to emerge around April or May.