Tillage farmers asked to back malting barley proposals for 2017

The Irish Grain Growers Association (IGGA) has asked all tillage farmers to back its proposals for malting barley for 2017.

Among its proposals, the IGGA is calling for a base prices of €195/t for brewing malting barley and €220/t for distilling malting barley, both excluding VAT.

These prices would apply to malting barley at 20% moisture and were approved at a recent meeting of the association.

At 2016 prices, growers are not getting the recognition of the premium they need to compete with other agricultural sectors, according to the grain growers.

“While we welcome the rapid growth of the Irish craft beer and distilling industries, the farmers’ incomes from supplying these industries are declining rapidly.

“In fact feed barley is currently on a par with malting barley as regards income, or lack thereof, this has reached crisis point,” the association said.

The association’s proposed malting barley prices for next year were based on Teagasc 2016 costings with feed barley at €150/t, with a target yield of 3t/ac for malting barley versus 4t/ac for feed winter barley.

The price also takes into account the 25% average failure rate of crops at harvest time due to the ever increasing specifications and delivery being restricted to contracted tonnage.

The higher distilling price is based on a reduced yield of one third of a tonne per acre through reduced fertiliser use in an effort to achieve the lower protein requirements.

Meanwhile, the association believes that prices above this base should be linked to a forward selling mechanism in as simple a model as possible that is related to the current markets so as to avoid confusion.

Other proposals brought forward by the association include:

  • Growers to receive contract details by January 31, 2017.
  • Growers to receive contract details for 2018 by September 30, 2017.
  • Growers to be given four weeks to return contract.
  • Make levy payments optional on contracts.
  • Seed varieties to be fit for purpose to maximise yield and avoid issues like skint grain etc. Maximum price of seed to set at €400/t for all varieties with no add-ons.
  • Farmers given the option of taking home samples of loads delivered.
  • Transport allowance of €5/t (due to new trailer rules by RSA and other merchants giving a transport allowance).
  • Increase protein levels to 11.2% for brewing and 9.4% for distilling grain at delivery.
  • Restrict access to farmer’s land by company staff to appointments only and remove ‘unfettered access’ by companies from contracts.
  • Allow a grower to deliver up to 10%, up to a maximum of 30t, of contract malting barley between 21.5% to 23% moisture following a difficult harvest.
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