Barley growers have been encouraged to take advantage of the recent increase in the malting barley market.

Prices have risen after interest from Continental barley traders pushed export values higher.

About 30% of spring barley has still to be harvested in Denmark and Germany, so speculators are looking to countries like France and the UK who have already cut their crops.

Frontier Agriculture barley trader Jonathan Hoyland said export values have risen to up to £8/t over the last 10 days.

While UK traders have not found a margin at these values, domestic prices should improve.

However current prices should be considered, he added.

“In the UK there is a wide range of screenings which vary across the country and that’s affecting price.

Some maltsters will pay more for the better qualities, but those that can will widen their specification to buy lower qualities.

“In 2002 we saw a very high market coming down because maltsters eventually widened their specifications.

Farmers may therefore want to take advantage of these current prices.”

caroline.stocks@rbi.co.uk