8 August 1997

Barley growers log on to cereal forum

MALTING barley growers with Internet access are being asked to share their views on this years crop with the rest of the industry.

A new site has been developed between FWi and British Cereal Exports (BCE), providing a forum for debate on the harvest.

"As the feed barley price dips below £70/t, the whole UK cereal supply chain needs to pool information on high yielding winter malting varieties," says BCE manager, Philippa Hunt. The aim is to generate market information to help with the marketing of this years barley at home and abroad.

"Winter varieties are still relatively new. With increasing world demand for malt and malting barley, we need to find out as much as possible to help us with our marketing drive," says Ms Hunt. "One aim is to establish the quality and availability for export, prior to us sending out samples of this years crop to potential buyers around the world."

Gaining access to the site is easy. Log on to FWi at the usual address (http://www.fwi.co.uk), register if you have not already done so, click on to "open forum" and then click "BCE forum".

Once in, producers can read about the crop and then submit their own views. How has it performed in the field? Which varieties have done best – and why? What sort of premium do you need to grow it again? What area will you plant next year?

According to one user, David Barland of Presteigne, Powys: "The premiums on offer supporting the new winter malting barleys do not currently justify the separation and extra work required to submit them for malting. One deduction after leaving home and you are up the creek!"

What is your view?n

Phillipa Hunt and Rachel Walker of BCE log on to the new barley forum.