Imports of malt into the country have jumped significantly so far this year. From January to August this year, over 18,400t of malt are estimated to have been imported.

This is up from over 3,700t for the same period in 2022 and almost 3,900t in 2021.

Imports were greater in 2020 at 17,891t and in 2019 at 22,510t, although these higher figures coincided with repairs to a malting steep at Boortmalt and so this may have required more malt to be imported.

In 2018, the figure was 17,309t. That was a year of drought, which reduced yields and made malting quality more difficult to achieve.

Quality was down

It is not clear what may be causing the increase in imports in 2023. Malting quality was down this year, but that should not have impacted on figures early in the season.

For example, almost 3,500t and 3,800t of malt were imported into the country respectively in January and February.

Monthly import figures ranged from 840t to over 1,800t from March to July and in August imports rose to over 4,000t. That 4,000t is more than all imports from January to August in 2022.

It should be noted that malt is different to malting barley. Malt is the final product.

Malting barley is not differentiated from feed barley or barley for other purposes in the Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures. So, there is no way of telling how much barley is imported to be malted, if and when it is imported.

The figures in this article come from the CSO and readers should note that they come from raw data and may be subject to change.