‘€200/t minimum’ or they’ll be outside the gates of Guinness

Growers supplying Boortmalt want a minimum price of €200/t. It might seem like the same old broken record – malting barley farmers aren’t happy, but attending a grower’s meeting last night it struck this AgriLand reporter that this time was different.

The farmers in attendance were at the end of their tether and they were unwilling to accept the deal put in front of them which had been negotiated between Boortmalt and the IFA malting barley committee.

Many farmers stated that Boortmalt was “playing them”.

One member of the committee stated that he felt they had been “dragged” along until Christmas and now are faced with a deal they are not happy with in February.

Many farmers reiterated this point stating that the deal is in front of them a month before planting.

Also Read: Revealed: New malting price deal proposal between Boortmalt and IFA

Call from the floor

The main call from the floor was for a minimum price of €200/t for malting barley. Growers stated that they will stand behind the IFA malting barley committee and will travel to St. James’s Gate to protest if a better deal is not finalised.

The malting barley committee will meet with Boortmalt again on Wednesday (February 6) and leaving the meeting last night the understanding was that growers will meet once again next Monday night (February 11) and the Monday after if needed.

Chairman of the committee, Mark Browne, was encouraged by the crowd in attendance, but asked members to come back next week with another person to ramp up the support.

The big bugbears of the night were:
  • Transport subsidies are gone;
  • No forward selling available;
  • Average price over 20 weeks could result in a poor final price;
  • The seed price is thought to be increased – mainly due to seed being imported from other countries;
  • Irish drinks are being promoted as being made from Irish barley, despite the fact many are made from imported product.

Transport

Transport subsidies were introduced over the years for growers who supplied grain intakes that are now closed down.

For example, growers who supplied grain to Bagenalstown in Co. Carlow received a subsidy for haulage of grain when it had to be transported to Athy.

Under the proposed deal these subsidies would be taken away.

No forward selling

Farmers disagreed with the proposal of averaging the harvest price over 20 dates in the season – using the FOB Creil malting barley price – from mid-April to mid-September.

Many pointed out that the price tends to peak in the latter of those months and the average price could work out to be considerably lower than the harvest price as a result.

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