12 September 1997

Growers called on to stand by malting barley

GLOOMY malting barley markets are prompting calls from the trade for growers to stand by the crop.

But access to new high yielding winter types with malting potential means growers can plant crops now and decide whether to manage for malting or feed markets later, says ADAS.

Keep your options open, urges cereals specialist John Garstang. "That is the line we are taking with the new varieties. Get them established and through the winter and then decide how to manage them. Hopefully, by then the malting market will have picked up from its current doldrums."

Over-supply last year and low prices this year may discourage farmers from growing malting barley, admits Mike Adams, president of UKASTA and executive manager with Banks Agriculture.

"This could result in reduced availability next year and that would lose market opportunities for the UK if shortages occur," he says. "There could be a cut-back on the area grown for malting, but I do ask growers, please do not stop growing it altogether.

"Nearly 2m tonnes are going to be needed next year. Although this is proving a very difficult season, there is always going to be a market for quality samples." &#42