Premium grains must command premium income for the farmer, a spokesperson for the Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) has said.

“It's heading for the second anniversary of the joint venture between Boortmalt and Teagasc to deliver on its promise to have growing malting barley on at least a par with growing first-crop winter wheat when it comes to income per acre for the tillage farmer," according to an IGGG spokesperson.

“By our calculation, using the Teagasc crop monitor, forward selling malting barley in the current market would need a price range in the €210 bracket to deliver on Teagasc and Boortmalt's goal.

“This past week, it has been reported that the FOB Creil price is in the low-€160s bracket. This system is proving again to fail growers where the FOB Creil price is linked to Irish malting barley.

“We are all fully aware that the area under spring barley is going to rise considerably this spring,” the spokesperson said.

Direct link

Malting growers must insist that the direct link between themselves, Boortmalt and Guinness is upheld where it is becoming increasingly evident that more middle men are being allowed into the malting market, the spokesperson added.

This “ultimately, we feel, will have a negative impact on the farmer’s bottom line long term. We welcome the expansion at Boortmalt's plant in Athy, but premium grains must command premium income for the farmer.

“The likes of Glanbia and Dairygold, both large co-ops, have been getting an easy ride sitting comfortably in the slipstream of Boortmalt when it comes to buying malting barley. Boortmalt have taken positive steps in expanding, but one has to question why both co-ops have not driven on their joint malting business for their growers especially now with the boom in whiskey sales.

“Are they giving their Irish grain suppliers the same attention as their dairy neighbours? Why have they not expanded the malting business for its growers?” the group asked.

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