Malting barley seed growers voiced their anger on Wednesday night at the changes made to the pricing structure in their seed contracts with Boortmalt this year.
Under the new pricing structure, growers will be paid a premium of €32/t over the green harvest price for feed grain.
Previously, growers who produced malting seed barley for Boortmalt received a premium over the malting barley price.
In 2018, for example, growers were paid €17/t over the price of malting barley for their seed crop.
The meeting was organised by the IFA and heard from a number of members of its malting barley committee, who voiced their frustration at Boortmalt’s decision to move away from a malting-based index to a feed-based index, given their efforts to do the opposite for the current malting barley price deal.
“We spent a long number of years trying to get away from our malt contracts being linked to the price of feed grain,” said IFA grain chair Mark Browne.
With the Fob Creil (malting barley market) holding strong in comparison to feed grain markets, seed growers fear that malting barley crops would be worth more than seed crops under the new pricing structure.
Moving the goalposts
Over half of the 40 growers who produce seed for Boortmalt were in attendance at the meeting.
Many growers only learned of the contract changes when the seed was already in their sheds, and a number of growers had their seed crops sown when they found out.
“It’s like they’re moving the goal posts when the game has already started,” one Wexford-based grower remarked.
Seed growers also received the opportunity to fix up to 20% of their contacts at €230/t.
As this offer was made in 2018, they will receive last year’s seed premiums of €17/t for this proportion of their contract.
Growers at the Wednesday night meeting unanimously opted to reject the new price offer and stated that for the 2019 crop, the old pricing structure should be retained.
While still opting to sow the crop, growers agreed that they wouldn’t sign their contracts until the 2018 pricing structure was restored.
Many growers felt that this was the first step in fully outsourcing seed production.
The IFA has called a meeting with Boortmalt officials on the matter.
Boortmalt seed barley anger