Imports blamed for keeping grain prices down

Tariff fears have caused a surge in barley exports from the UK. Pic: REUTERS/Mike Sturk
Tariff fears have caused a surge in barley exports from the UK. Pic: REUTERS/Mike Sturk
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Increased imports of cheap British barley are being blamed by local cereal growers for keeping downward pressure on harvest prices.

Fears that €80/t tariffs could be imposed on British grain this autumn in the event of a no-deal Brexit have resulted in a surge in barley exports from the UK.

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While Spain and Portugal are understood to be the prime outlets for British barley exports, farmers report that significant quantities have been landed in Ireland over the last fortnight.

The recent collapse in sterling has made imported British barley more attractive for Irish merchants.

British barley is generally selling ex-farm for around £120/t (€130/t).

This means that dry English barley can be landed in merchants’ yards in Ireland at €160-165/t.

Growers claim that the British imports are being used by merchants to maintain downward pressure on local harvest prices.

While farmers have been battling to secure a base of €145/t for grain this harvest, prices of €135-140/t have been reported.

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The IFA has reacted angrily to the increased level of British barley imports.

The farm body insists the country cannot become a “dumping ground” for cheap British barley due to fears of a no-deal Brexit.

“Irish cereal growers can’t tolerate British barley being dumped in Ireland as a consequence of concerns around Brexit,” said IFA grain chairman Mark Browne.

“IFA is calling on merchants to support Irish growers and not be opportunistic by importing British barley which is undermining Irish gain prices.”

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