By FWi Staff

MALTING barley exports are 200,000 tonnes down in the EU on 1997, and there is as much as 7.3 million tonnes in store, says Stuart Shand of Banks Agriculture.

With large stocks carried over from last year, maltsters are still only buying small quantities. “The quality in France is good and they have a surplus of spring barley at 900,000 tonnes,” said Mr Shand. “Denmark is also expected to have stocks of almost 600,000 tonnes.”

This makes strong competition for UK exporters. Problems in Asia, Russia and South America exacerbates the problem further. Barley will not be bought by these regions until they have finalised sales, Mr Shand predicts. However, exports to Germany and other Benelux countries are strong.

“If malsters dont start buying soon, they may find that when they do start a large amount of the winter barley will have disappeared into intervention.”

Barley prices have inched up over recent weeks with premium malting barley now at £91.50/t noted the Home-Grown Cereals Authority. Other malting barley is £81.60/t. However, prices can be as high as £102/t for November delivered Spring Barley at under 1.85 nitrogen.

The price move has been in the spring varieties, said Tom Rivett of H Banham Ltd, Norfolk.

“Spring varieties have risen on the back of a shortage in grain. In the local area most of the crop was sold prior to harvest and most of next years harvest is tied up as well.”