‘Restrictive’: Irish Grain Growers Group lambastes Boortmalt/IFA deal

The Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) has stated that the future of malting barley growing is at risk due to the alleged “poor deal” presented to farmers by IFA and Boortmalt.

The IGGG has claimed that growers have begun to return seed or inform Boortmalt that they will not be growing for them this season.

The group adds that growers see the IFA’s two-year deal with Boortmalt as “restrictive and not capable of delivering the price margin needed”.

Also Read: New Boortmalt/IFA malting barley price arrangement announced

There is good demand for Irish grown GMO-free feed crops and the price for malting/distilling barley is simply too low, it says.

IGGG has stressed that the pricing structure currently on offer to growers has no minimum price; this sees the price effectively capped at €170 and the MATIF-led system would have to reach €185 or more to see any further increase over €170.

If the MATIF wheat price is €171, malting barley drops to €166; if the MATIF wheat price is €160 then growers get €160. This effectively means growers are being encouraged to sell in the late €160 region – thus effectively capping the price, according to the organisation.

A spokesperson for the IGGG said: “Because malting barley is used as a benchmark by merchants for the setting of feed grain prices, this deal affects all tillage farmers.

“Why is the IFA agreeing to a deal that effectively puts a ceiling on the price of all Irish grown grain? This would not be tolerated in any other sector.

‘Not good enough’

“Growers are being told they will get a bonus for distilling. But as farmers decide to grow or not, the vague promise of a bonus is simply not good enough.”

IGGG has said that growers want to be able to carry out their own dealings without IFA’s involvement.

“The current deal – which includes a Memorandum of Agreement that no grower has seen – must be scrapped before long-term damage is done to the malting barley / distilling sector.”

IGGG has also asked for an Irish Grain Auditing system for purchasers of grain, to establish the tonnage of Irish-grown fully-traceable grains and to prevent imports being passed off as Irish grain.

“It’s time for the malting and distilling sectors to pass on some of the recent benefits in the sector to their growers and to ensure the supply of Irish grain into the future and pay proper prices to growers.

“This deal does not guarantee Boortmalt a supply of barley next harvest because more attractive offers for barley may be available from other merchants,” the spokesperson concluded.

A spokesperson for Boortmalt has refuted the IGGG’s claims, saying that virtually no growers have returned seed, and that the amount of malting barley sown is actually higher than last year.