The malting barley harvest looks to be effectively over, as the amount of grain failing to meet specifications increases.

Tillage farmers across the country are struggling to harvest crops in unsettled weather.

The majority of early-sown crops had been meeting standards and some crops are still passing, but a large amount of April-sown crops are failing on a number of issues including green grains, germination, fusarium, skinning, protein and bushel or KPH levels.

Speaking to merchants across the country, the majority expect that the spring barley which remains to be cut will not meet malting specifications.

The majority of spring barley across the country was planted in April, with smaller amounts sown in February and March and some into May.


Second growth occurred following dry weather in May and June and wet weather in July caused crops to start to grow again.

This means there are two crops growing side by side - one which is ripe or nearly ripe and the other is still green, has not filled out and can cause higher moisture, protein and screening levels.

Heavy rain in early July caused lodging and tossing of many crops. These crops have been lying on the ground for weeks.

The wet weather is causing crops to sprout in the field and quality is deteriorating as the harvest is delayed by rain. Germination and fusarium are also issues.


Malting barley price offers a significant premium over feed. For example, some farmers who supply Boortmalt may have fixed up to 40% of their contracted tonnage at an average price of €310/t.

If farmers receive €200/t for feed barley, then this is a premium of €110/t on some of their malting barley.

The current harvest price for Boortmalt suppliers, which is based on an average of the Free-On-Board (FOB) Creil Planet price, stands at €279.78/t and is subject to a €10/t drying charge, bringing the price to €269.78/t.

This is a significant loss in income for farmers who grow the crop and have not met specifications.

Farmers should remember that malting or food-grade barley cannot be sprayed with glyphosate.

If farmers think their crop could pass for malting or food-grade barley, then they should remember that it cannot be sprayed with glyphosate.