Boortmalt growers will need to deliver half of their malting barley at below 9.8% to fill their contract quota this year. IFA grain chair Mark Browne says that the low-protein distilling proportion of contracts is increasing from 30% to 50% this year.

There will be a €10/t bonus for distilling barley over brewing, which is barley ranging from 9.8-10.8% protein.

Contract tonnage is to be cut by as much as 30% on 2020 tonnage.

“A farmer who had 300 tonnes in 2020 will have typically 200t this year, 100t each for distilling and brewing,” Browne confirmed. This is a deeper cut than indicated by Boortmalt themselves.

“This year, Boortmalt are only contracting the tonnage they require, so if some growers can’t fill their tonnage, it can only come from other growers’ surplus.”

There are grounds for optimism for malt barley price, grain executive Pat Farrell said, with the FOB Creil price currently €205-€209.

“You never know what will happen, but many people see the market staying strong going forward,” he said.

All blue label seed is being priced at €595. There will also be a minimum kph requirement this harvest of 62kph, described as “an industry standard” by Browne.

Browne was speaking at an IFA malting barley meeting on Monday, with over 100 growers in attendance.

Many welcomed Doyle’s of Cooladine’s purchase of Boortmalt’s Tintern premises in south Wexford, from where they will assemble grain for Boortmalt.Doyle’s assembled 5,000t of malt barley at its Enniscorthy premises in 2020.