By Farmers Weekly staff

SCOTTISH malting barley should remain in keen demand this season with much of the surplus already sold or booked, according to merchant Dalgety.

Speaking at the recent Scottish Harvest Review, grain trader Colin Maclean said the low nitrogen content of the English winter and spring barley crop had created a headache for both maltsters and traders.

Despite much of the East Anglian and southern English spring crop being written off for malting, the market remained relatively unmoved.

“This was due to an exceptionally early Scottish harvest and reports of Scotland being awash with malting barley,” said Mr Maclean.

“At the tail end of harvest, values firmed on reports of Scottish export business being done to both EU and third country destinations.”

Poor weather also hit the last quarter of harvest, although yields were still good, with Chariot averaging 5.1t/ha (2.1t/acre). Overall, spring varieties produced 1.46m tonnes north of the border.

Prices rose about £3 to make £78-80/t. That was unlikely to change, said Mr Maclean.

“Supplies of malting barley in the UK may be tight for the rest of the season, with the Scottish barley surplus, which may be smaller than expected, already spoken for.”

Looking at wheat, Keith Golesworthy, senior grain trader with Dalgety in Scotland, said last years wet autumn meant almost 30% less area was sown.

But improved quality in central Scotland and the Borders could also increase milling demand, he added. The deficit meant Scottish growers were enjoying premiums of about £10/t over their English counterparts.