Growers receiving €20/t less than they did in 1976
Farmers have warned they may opt out of growing malting barley, with prices now €20/t below the price they received four decades ago.
Around 100 farmers from the Irish Grain Growers’ (IGG) group gathered outside the gates of malting company Boortmalt headquarters in Athy, Co Kildare to highlight the poor returns received for the key ingredient in a pint of Guinness.
They pointed out that in 1976, the price of a pint was 48c compared to at least €4.30 today. Growers received €175/t for malting barley in 1976 compared with €155/t today. However, using a price index taking into account inflation, if it had kept pace with inflation it should be roughly the equivalent of €864/t in today’s money.
Farmers whose families have been growing malting barley for up to six generations warned it was no longer viable for them to continue producing it at current prices.
Bobby Miller from the Irish Grain Growers’ (IGG) group called for a minimum of €200/t for malting barley for brewing and €220-230/t for distilling grade malting barley as it is produced to higher specifications.
Farmers gathered at the protest stated the average harvest base price they received was around €155/t and warned they could not sign up for the higher future price as they could not guarantee delivery with the tight specifications.
The growers’ group was critical of IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy as a dairy farmer leading the IFA negotiations as chair. However, it is understood that the IFA does not intend to change this.
They called for the current deal between Boortmalt and the IFA to be “thrown out”, claiming it was “just not working”.