By Robert Harris

LOW cereal prices are tempting some buyers into the market, but growers are warned that demand remains limited.

Winter barley growers who do not need the cash are storing newly harvested grain, knowing that buyers will have to compete with intervention later this year, said Robert Leachman, of the Malting Barley Company, Melksham, Wiltshire.

Brewers have been paying £75-£85/ t for the malting barley varieties Halcyon and Pipkin, said Michael Banks, of Banks Agriculture, Sandy, Bedfordshire.

“That may not look much on paper, but it is a hell of a premium in percentage terms,” he said. Regina, Fanfare and other newer varieties are not selling so well.

Feed barley markets have been shored up by some UK trade, catchy weather and demand from Ireland, which has yet to start harvest. Values are typically £60-£62/ t ex-farm.

The spring barley is now about a week away in the south of England. In other parts of Europe, such as Germany, yields appear to be down.

Export maltsters remain quiet. Roger Woodley, of Bairds, said his company will not be rushing to buy.

“There is excess capacity in the industry in the short term, uncertainty in the Asian market and we do not know what export restitutions are doing. There is also a lot of crop yet to be harvested in Europe.”