Negotiations had been delayed as Boortmalt agreed a deal with Diageo, its biggest customer for Irish malting barley.

The deal is fundamentally similar to the agreement that expired in 2016, centred around a price based on the MATIF milling wheat price with an agreed bonus structure.

What’s different?

There are two differences that are immediately obvious.

The forward-selling fixed-price mechanism has been tweaked. Farmers can forward sell up to 15% of their grain in each price window, up from the previous 10%. This is in recognition of the late start to selling of the crop, which is practically all planted at this point.

A total of 20% of contracted tonnage can be sold forward, with the first date, next Tuesday 18 April, at a price of €164/t. The second fixed-price selling date is Wednesday 28 June.

Fixed pricing for next year reverts to a maximum of 10% in each of four dates, with the same 20% overall ceiling in place. A fixed-price window will occur before Christmas for harvest 2018.


Flexibilities have also been introduced into how hedging will occur.

From next week, farmers can hedge every Wednesday. They can hedge for both this year and for 2018. The current MATIF wheat price for December 2017 (the relevant price for this year) is €173.50, with the price for December 2018 being €180.50.

The contract tonnage is again divided between low protein distilling barley (max 8.8% protein) and higher protein brewing barley (max protein of 10.8%) with the same 30/70 split.

At a meeting of growers in Enniscorthy on Tuesday night, IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy, who chairs the malt barley negotiating committee, said that “nothing had been left behind” in negotiating the package. Contracts will now be offered to growers.

For more on this, see this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.

Read more

Boortmalt postpones talks with growers again