Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Malting barley growers advised to reject Boortmalt offer

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Irish Grain Growers Group is calling on all malting barley growers to reject an offer from Boortmalt for their grain.

Last month Boortmalt, the dominant player in the Irish malting industry, concluded a two-year deal with the IFA, but the Irish Grain Growers Group has called on malting barley growers to reject this offer.

It says that the deal is squeezing farmers' margins and that the IFA has failed to defend growers' interests.

"Malting barley was once seen as a premium crop, traditionally grown by experienced specialist growers on some of the best tillage land in the country."

Growers are now either walking away or reducing their acreage dedicated to malting barley, the group says and claims the amount of malting barley being imported will increase.

According to the growers, the distilling barley specification is a source of huge frustration to growers.

"Boortmalt demands in 2017 that each grower must deliver for 30pc of their contracted tonnage barley with a maximum protein content of 8.8pc.

"By way of comparison European malting barley growers have much broader protein range of 9.5-13pc." It says that claims by Boortmalt that growers’ can meet these specifications without a loss of yield is in conflict with independent research by the state body Teagasc."

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The group said Boortmalt is charging "unjustifiably inflated seed costs" which, it says, takes on average €5-7/t off the value of the grain grown.

It also says that an average of between 1.8t to 2.2 tonne/acre per grower, which it says, dilutes the farmer's income per acre because the yield over this average will be sold at feed value.

Further, it says, that Boortmalt is outsourcing the growing of malting barley to other merchants with no restrictions in place.

It goes on to say that non-IFA members are being forced to pay a levy to the IFA as part of their contracts.

Boortmalt did not respond to requests for a comment

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