Barley steady at €135/t but Ukraine crisis could force hike
Winter barley yields are settling into a slightly improved pattern. However, while prospects for the 2014 harvest remain depressed, with green feed barley prices no better than steady, events in the Ukraine and Russia may yet impact on the trade.
Sean Brett of Brett Brothers in Callan, Co Kilkenny, reports that they are very busy. Moisture levels are very good at 15-19pc and bushel weights in the low to high 60s, with some of the 2-row varieties in particular bushelling well. While there have been some reports of 4t/ac yields, Mr Brett said a definitive picture had not yet emerged but he would guess that they are a little down on last year.
There seems to be a general consensus that yields are in the range of 3.4-3.8t/ac. This would be around 0.3-0.4t/acre back on last year, which could see them ending up close to the five-year-average.
Denis McDonnell of McDonnell Brothers in Fermoy, Co Cork, said that while price prospects remain gloomy because of the availability of large volumes of competitively priced maize, it will be a few months before prices are finalised and there is still time for events which would effect a significant upswing.
Tim Sheahan of Farmco near Mitchelstown said the winter barley harvest is in full swing in some areas and they have also taken in some early samples of oats. Moistures are in the range of 23-24pc but colour and bushels are good, though again yields are down.
They are quoting €135 for green barley and he is pretty confident of that holding.
There was some talk of prices dipping below €130 last week. However, IFA grain committee chairman Liam Dunne pointed out that there was a bounce of several euro/tonne in the grain futures markets in Chicago, London and Paris last Thursday. This followed the Malaysian Airlines plane crash on the Ukraine/Russian border.
Louth-based animal nutritionist Gerry Giggins points out, for example, that the prolonged wet weather in France has resulted in some sprouting of grain: "Quality of Irish grains is excellent and that should help to keep out imports."
Brian Reidy, a ruminant nutritionist in South Tipperary, reports of a client with 6-row varieties yielding up to 3.75t and hopes that the main crop will rise to over 4t, with bushel weights having improved well from early figures in the mid-50s up to 63 and some 65kph. Moisture levels, which started off in the low 20s, have now dropped to 18-20pc.
Mr Reidy added that round bales of straw were being sold at €10-11 delivered, €12 at best.
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