By FWi staff

REDUCED spring barley sowings across Europe suggest better malting premiums this harvest, delegates at Tuesdays Home-Grown Cereals Authoritys malting seminar in Peterborough heard.

“Estimates point to 2 million tonnes less spring barley across the EU,” said HGCAs market information director Alaistair Dickie.

“That supports the trade view that premiums will be more robust this coming campaign.”

The figures, from trade body Coceral, amount to a 7% decrease in production.

Only Denmark has increased sowings. German crop area is forecast down 30%, which could lead to substantial imports from the UK, France and Denmark.

Canadian barley plantings are believed to be up by 5-9%, and Australian pundits reckon good prices could trigger a 20% increase there.

But that will not be available until November and can be drought-prone, Mr Dickie notes.

However, GATT restrictions on malt restitution payments threaten to bite next season, which could reduce exports.