New Boortmalt/IFA malting barley price arrangement announced

A new pricing structure for grain growers supplying Boortmalt was announced at an IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) malting barley meeting last night (March 15) in Co. Carlow.

The new deal comes in the middle of a two-year deal between Boortmalt and the IFA; it’s the result of a series of meetings held between both parties in the past number of weeks.

Farmers weren’t overly impressed by the deal put forward. However, chairperson of the IFA’s Malting Barley Committee Mark Browne stated that the committee was not saying that it’s the best deal; but think it’s the best deal that could be got in the midst of a two-year deal.

“We’d only be happy if we had €200/t in front of us,” Browne added.

Malting Barley Committee member Seamus Duggan added: “We can offer no more than we’ve been given and that’s very little.”

The new committee asked growers for their continued contribution of opinions and also stated that it was committed to delivering for growers.

Growers’ opinions

It was very clear from the meeting that some growers are seriously considering a move away from malting barley. Many may not grow the crop or may reduce the acreage sown, in the coming weeks and seasons, if the price does not improve.

Growers were disappointed with the fact that no deal had been made on the distilling price. Numerous growers commented that it doesn’t make sense to grow distilling barley with no idea of a premium, when nitrogen rates need to be reduced and yields can be lowered as a result.

Other growers stated that the committee should not come back with a price that is lower than the cost of production.

New pricing structure

The new pricing structure is still based on the Matif wheat price.

2018 price structure:
  • At €170/t or below – no deduction from the Matif December price;
  • At €171-175/t – €5/t will be deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €176-180/t – €12.50/t will be deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €181/t or more – €15/t will be deducted from the Matif December price.

This is a change from 2017.

2017 price structure:
  • At €160/t or less – €5/t was deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €161-165/t – €7/t was deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €166-170/t – €9/t was deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €171-175/t – €11/t was deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €176-180/t – €12.50/t was deducted from the Matif December price;
  • At €180/t or more – €15/t was deducted from the Matif December price.

Distilling barley

The current 70:30 (malting:distilling) split in Boortmalt contracts will remain in 2018. The protein level for distilling will be 9.3% or less. Growers will also be able to hedge 50% of their distilling contract.

A distilling premium is being worked on. The commitment from Boortmalt is that the premium for distilling will be greater than the brewing premium.

2019 contracts

Negotiations on 2019 contracts are to begin after Easter. Another meeting will be held for growers after this meeting.

A second meeting – to explain the new pricing structure – will be held in the Farm Centre, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, next Tuesday (March 20).