Barley is making €130/tonne in the north east, according to David Reilly, Drummonds’ branch manager in Ardee.

He said that the winter barley harvest got underway in the north east this week and Drummonds took in its first deliveries from local growers yesterday. Yields, he said, seem to be down a little as are bushel weights.

With regard to price, David confirmed that Drummonds is paying the equivalent of €130/tonne, based on a moisture content of 20%. “Tillage farmers are hoping for an upturn in prices, but we will just have to wait and see how the markets play out over the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, Irish Grain and Feed Association Chief Executive Deirdre Webb is indicating that there are far too many factors still unresolved, which complicate any accurate assessment of future grain and compound feed prices.

“All of this talk of a bumper grain harvest in Europe is exactly that, just talk. The reality is that the vast majority of crops are still in the field,” she said.

“And it is only after they have been safely harvested that traders will be able to genuinely assess their true value. If milling wheat fails over the coming weeks that could be further bad news for the tillage sector. Adding to the uncertainty at the present time is the unfolding situation in the Ukraine. The heightened prospect of further violence and political instability in the region is putting a big question mark over the tonnages of grain that can be safely imported from that part of the world.

“Local traders may well wish to give the Ukraine a miss until they feel that it is safe to do business in that country. And, of course, the growing unrest in the Middle East could impact on world energy prices. This, in turn, could well be reflected on world grain markets and swing markets in the opposite direction.”

Deirdre Webb also confirmed that the EU is continuing to drag its feet on approving GMO related technologies. This week the Commission President  talked more about strengthening GMO regulation than he did about improving Banking Regulations .

“If EU politicians continues with this  self indulgent attitude  on GMO  that serves no one but the large powerful  food industry lobby. We could have  trade disruptions on importation of feed materials grains from North & South America into Europe this season,” she commented.

“So given all of these factors, it would be naïve  to predict the direction of compound feed prices over the coming months.”