The group has said that while the latest harvest price for malting barley is €154.80/t, the cost of production including land rental and labour is €282/t at the target yield of 6.5t/ha for distilling barley and €244/t at 7.5t/ha for brewing barley. Irish Grain Growers said in a statement that the current price “barely covers cost of production excluding land rental and labour; so malting barley growers are working for nothing and would be better off from an income prospective leasing out their land, particulars since this can be earned tax-free”.
Irish Grain Growers are calling for €200/t for brewing malting barley and €220/t for distilling malting barley for 2018. They argue that the booming Irish whiskey industry should cover the additional costs of growing distilling barley.
The group’s statement is highly critical of the agreement struck between Boortmalt and the IFA in April, which offered farmers an initial €164/t forward fixed price for up to 15% of their crop and subsequent opportunities to fix prices for part of their production until 2018.
IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy said at the time “nothing had been left behind” in negotiating the package, which had the potential to deliver €38/t above feed barley prices.
Irish Grain Growers now argue that this premium has failed to materialise and are ”calling on IFA to step away from negotiating on behalf of growers”.
The group also wants the full details of the IFA-Boortmalt agreement to be published.