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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Korean
26 May, 2022

Barley news Canada: 2022-23 barley crop expected to increase despite acreage reduction

For 2021-22, the Canadian barley supply and demand situation includes sharply lower carry-in stocks, production and supply, as well as significantly reduced domestic feed consumption and exports, when compared to last year. Carry-out stocks are projected at 0.3 million tonnes (Mt), a record low level, due to sharply decreased supply, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said in their May report.

Statistics Canada’s (STC) stocks report indicates that Canadian barley stocks as of March 31st, 2021 are at their lowest level (1.7 Mt) for the same period in at least two decades (-44% year-on-year (y/y), - 51% five-year average). The decline mainly reflects significantly lower on-farm stocks.

Imports for the first eight months (August 2021 – March 2022) of the current crop year are pegged at 0.16 Mt (-6% y/y, +146% five-year average). The importing pace has posted a drastic drop in March relative the pace in the previous months and this is expected to continue for the last four months (April – July 2022) of the crop year.

Exports for the first eight months are pegged at 2.09 Mt (-28% y/y, 0% five-year average), of which, about 90% were shipped to China and most of the rest were destined for Lithuania, the US, Japan and Mexico. Exporting pace of barley grain for the January – March 2022 period has considerably dropped from the levels in August – December 2021 period. For the rest of the current crop year, the slow exporting pace is anticipated to continue.

For malt, the exporting pace has shown a jump in March but remained relatively stable in the first eight months compared to barley grain, bringing total exports in the first eight months only slightly lower than a year ago.

Total domestic disappearance for the August 2021 – March 2022 period sits at 4.02 Mt (-32% y/y, -21% five-year average). The decline mainly reflects significantly lower feed use. Feed use, which represents more than 90% of total domestic disappearance, has dropped to its lowest level in at least two decades. In contrast, industrial use, which represents less than 5% of total domestic disappearance, has surged during the January – March 2022 period, bringing the total in the first eight months only slightly lower than a year ago.

The Lethbridge feed barley price for 2021-22 is forecast to hit a new high of C$435/t, up sharply from the old record of C$294/t set in 2020-21 and well above the previous five-year average. The 2021-22 prices are supported by uncertain new crop production prospects, tight domestic barley supplies, the decline in the availability of other domestic feed grain substitutes, robust demand and stronger prices of other grains. Barley prices though are being tempered by the large quantities of US corn imports into Western Canada since last September, limiting the price increase.

For 2022-23, Canadian producers intend to reduce barley acreage by 10% (326 thousand hectares (Kha) from 2021-22 to 3.0 million hectares (Mha), according to STC’s first 2022 acreage report. This is because producers on the Canadian Prairies, where about 97% of barley in Canada is grown, intend to plant less barley. Saskatchewan, the second largest barley producing province in Canada, is expected to lead the reduction. Despite this, Canadian barley acreage in 2022-23 will still be 5% and 8%, respectively, above the previous five- and ten-year averages.

Production is projected to increase by 34% from 2021-22 to 9.3 Mt based on assumptions for average yield potentials despite smaller acreage. This, combined with expectations for historical low carry-in stocks and smaller imports, will lead supply to increase by 23% to 9.7 Mt, which, however, will be the third lowest since 2016-17. In responding to larger supply, domestic use, including industrial use and feed use, and exports are predicted to increase from 2021-22. Carry-out stocks are projected to rise to 0.5 Mt, which is still a historically low level.

The average price is predicted to fall from the record level in 2021-22 to C$400/t, due to anticipations for a recovery in domestic supplies. But it will remain historically high, underpinned by strong corn prices.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), global barley production in 2022-23 is predicted to increase by 3% or nearly 4.0 Mt to 149 Mt. Combined 2022-23 barley production in the world's major barley exporting countries is expected to increase only slightly due to sharp production declines in Australia and Ukraine, offsetting higher production in other major exporting countries, including Argentina, Canada, the EU countries and Russia. In addition, Turkey and the US will see a sharp increase in barley production for 2022-23. With a decline in carry-in stocks, total supply is projected to decrease by 2% or 2.5 Mt to 196 Mt. Ending stocks are forecast to increase only 0.4 Mt due to strong demand. As a result, the stocks-to-use ratio will be close to the historical low level reached in 2021-22.

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