By FWi staff

UNLIKE wheat, the feed barley market has been well supported by healthy exports, particularly to China and Saudi Arabia.

These exports have kept values at attractive levels and ex-farm spot prices have climbed over £1 this week to £76.40/t. Futures prices have steadied this week, with January prices at £78.60/t and March futures rising to £80.80/t.

Typical ex-farm prices close to deep-water ports are currently higher, at about £80/t for January movement. This level has encouraged many producers to release a sizeable tonnage into the market, said Ian Wallis of Cargill plc.

Despite the current export opportunities, the industry is nervous of greater releases from intervention stores, said a spokesman from Banks Agriculture. “We believe that current values are well worth selling to keep a hungry man fed,” he said.

“Bear in mind that, just as intervention is supporting the price now, any significant rise in prices is unlikely because stocks can be released from intervention on the home market as well as overseas.”

Since the beginning of last month, 55,500 tonnes has been offered to UK intervention stores and 41,300 has actually been delivered. The total tonnage of barley now in intervention stores within the UK stands at 1,015,489t.