Malting barley farmers are expecting the IFA to secure a significantly improved 2015 contract deal with Boortmalt prior to Christmas, according to growers who attended a growers’ meeting in Athy on Monday evening of this week.

“Growers are still extremely angry at the deal struck for 2014, which worked at a producer price €147/t,” one farmer said.

“But what really sticks in the craw is the fact that Boortmalt introduced specification changes after this year’s crop was already in the ground. Maximum protein levels were reduced from 11.6% down to 10.8%.

“IFA President Eddie Downey attended a growers’ meeting the week before last and told us that the price for 2014 had to stand, but that every effort would be made to get an improved contract negotiated for next year.”

Just short of 100 tillage farmers attended this week’s Athy event with strong criticism expressed by the vast majority of those in attendance regarding the stance taken by the IFA’s Malting Barley Committee in the context of the recent negotiations with Boortmalt.

“Eddie Downey gave his word that he would deliver for growers,” continued the disgruntled barley producer.

“And all the farmers in our group will be making sure that he keeps it. The consensus view expressed by those in attendance in Athy centred around two main principles.”

These are that no seed barley must be delivered by Bormalt until a satisfactory contract agreement is thrashed out for 2015 and that members of our group are appointed to the IFA Malting Barley Committee.

“We want absolute transparency when it comes to the settling of all future contract arrangements with Boortmalt.”

While the grower in question would not commit on the specifics of producer prices for 2015 and future years, he made it very clear that this issue must be made a priority when it comes to reaching agreement with Boortmalt.