07 August 1997
Growers bear all the risk
WHERE has BCE been? The UK malting barley system has all but collapsed.
As Marie Skinner wrote in Crops magazine (July 19), growers are in for “an unpleasant surprise”. All the risk in this trade has been put back on growers who — as feed barley trades off the combine at £65/t this week – are unlikely to see much, if any, premium in the near future.
As reported in Crops, at least one major buyer of malting barley has told growers it will pay the feed price and deduct handling and storage charges against the time when the grain is actually sold for malting. No guarantee of premium is given.
With sterling remaining strong and maltsters still nursing fingers burnt from taking in too much and too expensive malt from the 1996 harvest, the prospects are gloomy for the new crop. In this atmosphere who will blame growers for planning to drill either pure feed types with high yield, or dual-purpose malting types?
David Millar, deputy editor, Crops, Surrey.