Pressure on to get barley into store

By FWi staff

WITH under 70% of the spring barley crop harvested, there is increasing pressure to get the remainder into store as the continuing unsettled weather puts a question mark over quality.

A number of crops in East Anglia and Hampshire have been reportedly germinating in the field.

Malting premiums have increased over the past weeks, with September ex-farm prices at about £82/t for material with a nitrogen content between 1.55-1.8%. Feed barley is trading at about £73.65/t.

November barley futures have also risen, closing 30p up yesterday (Tuesday) at £73.65/t.

But despite these increases, farmers are still reluctant to sell, said Robert Leachman of the Malting Barley Company.

“One or two are selling and the good yields have meant that theres not so much space in store, so some have been forced to move”, he said.

“Generally, though, [farmers] are holding on to see if they can get any increase.”

Although UK prices are higher than in Denmark, Mr Leachman said there was no direct evidence that rumours of Danish imports were true.

There would be no real advantage because malsters would have to add the cost of shipping, UK port charges and transport. And that could add £14/t to the price, he said.

A number of traders have said there was little prospect of exporting any spring barley because it was too expensive, although Mr Leachman believes it would not be impossible to see a few loads leave the country.

Maltsters have yet to make any significant purchases, although a spokesman from Banks Agriculture said they were keeping their heads down while they take their pre-harvest contracts.

“Only then will they consider what springs are available and decide whether to buy them, or turn to winter varieties.”

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