Spanish market ‘may demand more barley imports after dry season’

There is the potential for increased demand for barley in the Spanish market after dryness was experienced across key growing regions this year, according to experts.

Recent figures from the EU Commission’s crop monitoring unit (MARS) suggested the yields of spring barely, at 2.23t/ha, were set to be the lowest since 2005. Yields of winter barley were also expected to be the lowest since 2015, at 1.89t/ha.

Experts at the cereals and oilseeds division of the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said this provided an opportunity for higher barley exports to Spain.

The country’s winter barley crop declined from 2.7 million t in 2007 to 808,000t in 2016, with predictions from the MARS report putting this year’s winter barley crop as low as 555,000t.

According to the AHDB, this year’s spring barley crop could be 3.4 million t lower compared to 2015/16, bringing total production to 5 million t for 2017/18.

The organisation said: “The state of EU barley supply will undoubtedly be a developing theme over the coming weeks. However, it is worth stating that at this time both the yield and area figures are provisional.

The situation in Spain and the wider EU will become clearer as combines roll across Europe.

Commenting on the opportunities for UK growers, AHDB said: “In 2015/16, the UK exported more than 550,000t of barley to Spain. However, the ability of the UK to supply barley this season, should a small Spanish crop be harvested, will be dependent on the size of the UK crop.

“Furthermore, trade will rely heavily on how export-competitive the UK is into the EU, with currency movements likely to play a key role.”

The pound to euro exchange rate was €1.14 when markets opened today, July 5, as readings from the IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers Index showed a slowdown in the growth of UK business activity in June.

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