By FWi staff

MALTING barley markets continue to be quiet as maltsters have problems in competing for overseas sales, noted Mark Buckingham of Banks Agriculture.

“Theres hardly any market at all, and even smaller export opportunities,” said commercial manager Trevor Harriman of Dalgety. “This can be blamed on the less than buoyant malt sales along with the Germans holding back on the quantity they will need.”

Full-grade malting barley is currently worth about £110-£112/t delivered.

Further malting industry rationalisation took place last week when a new business was formed from a joint venture between Moray Firth Maltings and Hugh Baird and sons.

The new firm, Bairds Malt, will be 40% owned by Scottish Courage and 60% by ConAgra Malt, the respective parent companies of the two businesses.

However, at present there are no plans for further rationalisation of the company, said Richard Gibb of Scottish Courage Ltd: “All future operations are under review by the new management.

“But the aim of this venture is not rationalisation rather the creation of a larger, bigger and more robust company more capable of competing.”

UK exports of feed barley continue to make good progress, and values are gaining support, said Ian Wallis of Cargill plc.

Ex-farm prices around deep-water ports are about £78/t, while total prices are averaging £76/t.

Intervention offers continue at a steady rate, with 41,888 tonnes put forward so far. “This is similar to 1997,” said Mr Buckingham.

“Last year intervention did not really pick up until after Christmas and it looks as if we are going to see a similar story this year.”