Scots malt strategy
SCOTTISH malting barley growers must plant what the market wants. That means sticking in the main with tried and tested varieties, and restricting the area of newer ones with limited outlets.
"Only two Scottish spring barleys – Prisma and Chariot – are recognised worldwide, and these should remain the mainstay on Scottish farms next spring," says Finlay Calder, of Brechin-based Glencore Grain.
"Over recent years, we have been successful in markets within Europe and the Third world. If there is an option, those buyers prefer a variety they know."
Growers who choose other varieties like Optic, Cooper and Delibes should ensure they have a contract, he maintains.
Premiums will only be offered on a limited area – once demand has been filled, they will fall away.
Such specialised varieties which fail on nitrogen for distilling markets will also struggle to find higher N beer homes abroad, adds Mr Calder. "There is demand on the Continent for spring varieties, but it goes back to known ones like Prisma and Chariot."