10 November 1995

Malting plant will need up to 25,000ha barley

AN extra 20,000 to 25,000ha (50,000-62,500 acres) of malting barley will be sought in East Ang-lia by Pauls Malt to supply a new £30m plant at Bury St Edmunds.

To be built on land acquired by Pauls Malt next to its existing 60,000t a year maltings, it is hoped to expand production by 100,000t a year, making it one of the biggest maltings in Europe.

Almost all the new malt production will go for export. The firm is already exporting to 43 overseas countries, and grain director Robin Pirie is confident that world beer consumption is set to increase, particularly in the Far East.

"The new maltings will account for less than one-quarter of a single years increase in world demand for malt," he said. "It also comes at a time when cereal growers are looking again at the gross margin benefits of malting barley."

Commenting that it would require a more aggressive buying policy to secure the necessary barley, he added: "We are quite happy to pay a decent price for malting barley if we get a decent price for our malt."

But in the run-up to the Budget he urged the Treasury to act to cut the 27p/pt duty differential between Continental and UK beer that was encouraging a million pints a day of "blackleg" imports. &#42