There is total uncertainty at farm level concerning the progress, or lack of it, made by the IFA in negotiating 2015 malting barley contracts, according to Co. Laois barley grower Dermot Drennan.

The IFA President Eddie Downey addressed a meeting of growers last week in Bunclody, where he told growers that the IFA had secured the ‘best possible deal’ for farmers.

“This is an extremely complicated matter and those in attendance were not given a hard copy of the deal that was supposedly struck.

“Large numbers of farmers left the meeting that night, extremely upset with what they were told. And their mood deepened again when they heard that the IFA Grain committee subsequently endorsed a contract agreement with Boortmalt for 2015 at this week’s executive council meeting.

“My understanding is that Boortmalt is about to write to growers, confirming the contract details for this year. If this is the case a significant numbers of farmers may well seek not to pay the IFA levy on malting barley sales, by way of protest.”

Commenting on the current situation, the Chairman of the IFA Grain Committee Liam Dunne said there was strong support from this week’s Executive Council meeting for the negotiations that have been carried out on behalf of malting barley growers and an endorsement of the price secured for 2015.

The Chairman of IFA’s Malting Barley negotiating Committee, Mark Browne, said the vast majority of malting barley growers support IFA’s efforts in securing the best possible terms, which in today’s terms, will deliver a price approximately €40 (fixed price) above the current feed price.

He pointed out that genuine concerns expressed by growers are being taken on board by the negotiating Committee and every effort will be made to progress these issues in the ongoing discussions with Boortmalt.