Boortmalt expects to take in more malting barley than previously indicated

Suppliers of Boortmalt remain confused ahead of this season’s harvest.

On April 21, growers were informed that the company would reduce its harvest intake for the 2020 season due to reduced demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, growers have been left in the dark on the matter since that time.

Expect to buy a higher volume than indicated

This week, a spokesperson for Boortmalt told AgriLand: “The volume Boortmalt expects to buy from the market is higher than the indication it gave in April.

Although the current Covid-19 environment has improved, the outlook remains uncertain. A further update will be provided as the demand position clarifies over time.

However, growers were not informed what this reduction would be at the time and this was fairly well accepted as the situation was unfolding.

Rumours of a 30% cut were being heard, but nothing official. There were also question marks over the amount of barley which would be wanted for distilling and brewing, as demand was expected to be higher from the distilling trade while pubs were closed. This would be a change from other years, as brewing barley is generally needed in larger quantities.

However, nitrogen had already been applied to crops and the window for managing crops to achieve the protein specifications for the different grades had passed, in many cases, by the time the announcement was made.

Confusion remains

Boortmalt growers supply barley based on a yield of 3t/ac and dedicate a certain amount of acres to malting barley. A 30% cut would reduce contracts to 2.1t/ac. The news above would suggest that the cut won’t be as bad as this. Where the ratio for the supply of brewing and distilling barley will land is another question.

Confusion remains as the harvest draws closer and growers await an announcement. Spring barley is plentiful in acres this season here at home and on the continent, and while some crops suffered from the drought a large amount of crops with good yield potential remain in the south of the country and finding a new home for barley may be difficult.

The base harvest price for green feed barley currently stands at approximately €135/t (without bonuses) compared to a price for malting barley of over €170/t.

Fixed prices

On a positive note it is expected that growers who fixed prices will be paid on the basis of their original contract. So, if a grower has 40% of their barley fixed then it is thought that they will be paid on 40% of the original 3t/ac contract.

The other 60% will come from the average of the Free-On-Board (FOB) Creil Planet malting barley price from April to September.