Grain growers are going out of business because of low barley prices, Irish Grain Growers Association chair Bobby Miller has said.
He said that with malting barley prices on the floor, it is not viable to grow it.
Listen to Bobby Miller in our podcast below:
Miller, from Stradbally in Laois, was speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Tuesday where grain growers held a demonstration outside the Guinness Storehouse over the challenges facing the sector.
The group also recently held a demonstration outside Boortmalt’s Athy plant. The latest demonstration came after the growers received no reply from their correspondence to Boortmalt on the issues facing them.
“We were outside the gates of Boortmalt three to four weeks ago.
“We contacted them and they haven’t even had the courtesy to contact us back.
“We had to come here [to Guinness] – this is the next step we had to take. We’re going out of business, it’s as simple as that. We can’t afford to keep going the way we’re going. If this is not resolved, we will be back.
“We either get a result or we’re not growing malting barley – we’ve no option. There’s other crops that are more viable to grow and we’re facing pressure from other sectors for access to land as well.”
Listen to Art Murphy, another protesting farmer, in our podcast below:
Also at the demonstration was James Miller from Vicarstown in Laois who said it is “unsustainable” to grow malting barley.
“If you look at Teagasc numbers, you’re talking about [a cost of production of] €145/t of distilling malting barley and it’s about €135/t for brewing malting barley.
“That’s excluding land and labour, so if you are renting land or want to pay yourself a wage you’re totally reliant on your single farm payment [basic payment] based on prices now.
“We’ve estimated that you would need well over €200/t to put malting barley farming back to a sustainable basis.
“Malting barley was traditionally considered a premium crop and unfortunately that’s no longer the situation.”