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Malting barley growers face serious cuts to contracted tonnage

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Malting barley growers are worried that contracted tonnages for Boortmalt could be cut by 30-40pc this year because of a marked downturn in drinks sales.

It is understood that IFA is in discussions with Boortmalt regarding the implications of the Covid-19 crisis on demand for malting barley. Boortmalt declined to comment when contacted by the Farming Independent.

Boortmalt generally processes around 120,000t of malting barley for the brewing and distilling industries through its site at Athy in Co Kildare.

However, the closure of pubs and restaurants across Europe has hit sales for many of the country's major brewers such as Guinness, and therefore demand for malting barley.

Growers have called on Boortmalt to make an early announcement regarding this year's malting barley requirements.

Cereal farmers point out that they will increase current nitrogen applications, and push for extra yield, if their crops are not going for malting barley but are switched instead to feed barley.

Malting barley for brewing generally requires around 120 units of nitrogen per acre, with distilling crops getting 110 units.

However, feed barley crops take 130-140 units of nitrogen per acre.

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