Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Cereal price variations spark anger

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Anger is mounting among specialist cereal seed growers over the huge variation in prices paid by individual seed houses.

Some spring seed barley growers received a premium payment of €30/t for all the seed produced last season, while others were only paid €20/t on the first 2.6t/ac and €10/t for the excess tonnage.

The price differential, revealed in an IFA seed survey, has led to complaints from growers who supply the lower paying seed houses.

"Many growers would be financially better off growing a commercial grain crop, particularly when they are being paid at the lower end of the premium scale," claimed IFA grain chairman Noel Delany.

"Blue label seed is expensive and growers carry all the financial risks associated with increased production costs and seed crop failure."

He warned that many specialist farmers would quit seed production if the premium did not give an adequate return for their time and investment.

"The seed trade needs to wake up and pay growers a realistic seed premium," warned Mr Delany.

Meanwhile, the European Commission's decision to suspend import duties in low and medium quality wheat and barley imports is not expected to affect Irish grain prices.

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The Commission reduced the import tariffs of €12/t and €16/t for wheat and barley to zero in an effort to ease EU market pressures.

However, the concession relates to very low quality grain, which industry experts say is likely to be mopped up by China, while the cost of importing the grain would almost negate the tariff reduction.

Future prices for wheat experienced a fall and bounce last week as profit taking caused prices to fall by £4-4.50/t (€4.75-5.35/t) mid-week, before recovering to their original level by the weekend.

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