By Olivia Cooper

MALTING barley supplies are more than adequate to meet maltsers demands, according to the Home-Grown Cereals Authoritys barley quality survey.

Quality is very variable across the country, but, in general, specific weight is acceptable, nitrogen content is higher than the three-year average, and screenings are lower than normal.

Spring barley production was almost 50% up on last year, according to Defras statistics.

But Jonathan Hoyland, barley trader for Banks Cargill, says there has been a high failure rate on germination.

“Variable nitrogen content can be catered for, but a low germination is non-negotiable, so the exportable surplus is slightly down on last year despite the larger crop.”

Although UK malting barley is competitive for export, Mr Hoyland says that demand has been slow for the past two months.

“There is a two-tier market: domestic values, with a tighter quality specification, are 3-5/t above export prices.

“But where we go from here will depend on how strong the demand gets after Christmas.”

Optic for the home market is worth about 80/t ex-farm for November, with Regina pegged at around 75/t.