Hold back barley to profit

By FWi staff

CEREAL farmers could make more money by waiting until later this year before selling barley, say grain traders.

The grain market remains quiet this week, despite the onset of spring barley harvesting in many counties. Feed barley is averaging £63/tonne for spot movement. Malting varieties are selling for £70-£75/tonne.

But the market for both feed and malting varieties could be pushed higher when intervention opens this autumn at an expected price of £74/tonne.

“The market is slow to take off as farmers are waiting,” said Gary Sharkey of traders BDR Agriculture. “With a wait of up to three months for payment and delays in movement it may be as profitable to sell for a cash movement in November.”

Feed barley yields and quality are as variable as usual, but 75% of this years spring crop is expected to reach malting standards. Malting yields are 10-15% down on last year, but spring varietiesare yielding an encouraging 5-7.5 tonnes per hectare.

Good-quality spring barley could sell for as much as £90/tonne in November, predicted Robert Leachman of the Malting Barley Company, Wiltshire. But farmers should carefully monitor the quality of barley going into storage, he added.

“Farmers have the problem of germination to consider,” he said.

The better performing varieties so far this season are Fanfare and Regina. Halycon and Pipkin have been disappointing with high screenings. Chariot has suffered some skin problems but they are less severe than last year.

  • Grain prices – updated later today (20 August)

  • See more