Boortmalt holds up malting barley negotiations for a further week

IFA’s discussions with Boortmalt, which will kick-start negotiations on malting barley prices for 2017, will now take place on Monday, March 20.

“The initial meeting was to have happened today. But Boortmalt have asked for a week’s postponement,” the IFA Grain Committee Chairman, Liam Dunne, confirmed.

Dunne said that he was not in the least perturbed by Boortmalt’s request.

“This means that Diageo and Boortmalt are settling their affairs. This should pave the way for Boortmalt to put a firm offer on the table when we meet next week.”

Dunne had previously expressed deep concerns about a perceived attempt by Diageo to significantly reduce malt prices this year.

“But this pressure has now receded. This is good news for growers.

“IFA will go into the negotiations with Boortmalt with a firm commitment to ensure that the current malting barley pricing formula remains on the table.

Our team will be headed up by the IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy. This reflects how seriously we take the issue of getting the right price for Ireland’s malting barley producers.

“We will not be accepting any changes that would result in farmers getting reduced prices for their barley this year,” he said.

The recent publicity given to the malting barley issue has encouraged Boortmalt and Diageo to settle their affairs, the IFA Grain Committee Chairman said.

“It actually suits to have the grower price discussions put back for a week or so.

“Matif prices are quite flat at the present time. This is a factor in determining the contract price paid to growers,” he said.

Meanwhile, malting barley growers are being urged not to rush the planting of this year’s crops. Recent research has confirmed that soil compaction at sowing – as opposed to soil consolidation – can impact significantly on final crop yields. It’s a case of waiting until soil conditions are right rather than ‘chasing the calendar.’