11 February 2000
Scots face slow cereal recovery

SCOTTISH cereal growers can expect to see a slow recovery in the sector rather than a fast turnaround, according to Ian McLean, commercial manager with Pauls Mills.

McLean, speaking at the Home Grown Cereals Associations roadshow in Dundee, said it was unlikely that last years overplanting would be repeated.

He said there was a strong increase in the consumption of whisky, but the market for malt would continue to be subdued.

HGCA economist Gerald Mason forecast that with malting barley production likely to be more in line with demand, there would be some room for better premiums over feed prices this year.

But he said lower intervention prices would see the feed price slip back.

In the wheat market, Mr Mason said that with European Union prices approaching those of the world market, more could be exported with lower rates of restitutions.

He forecast that with a lower planting of the crop in the USA, together with higher demand from Asian countries, there could be a sharp reduction in the amount of wheat looking for a home on the world market.