A Little Malting Barley Update

Earlier in 2016 the Scotch Whisky association reported that Scottish whisky exports by volume returned to growth for the first time since 2013. As a malting barley buyer, this was very welcome news, particularly given the on-going weakening of the pound which should aid competitiveness.

Furthermore, Scotland is estimated to have produced the smallest spring barley crop for 18 years at an estimated 1.27 million tonnes.

However, it is important to remember that in 2013, 2014 and 2015, both England and Scotland enjoyed bumper spring barley harvests with regard to both yield and quality, creating an accumulation of stocks.

Over the last three years, UK barley stocks at the end of June each year were estimated in the region of 1.50 million tonnes – typically we would tend to see ending stocks below the 1 million tonne mark. Whilst news of “excellent demand” is making the headlines, it is important to realise that the majority of this can be met with existing stocks.

But what does this mean for Harvest 2017?

An undeniably smaller crop this year should help balance out the remaining stocks from the previous bumper years which moving forward, should attract more demand for malting barley next year. This year, buyers were relatively relaxed heading into harvest given the plentiful carryover stocks. Next year however could be different and we will hopefully see demand return to the level we have seen in previous years.

Regardless, buy back contracts will be essential for those wishing to secure harvest movement; despite the ideal ‘autumn sowing weather’ there is a surprising amount of land intended for spring drilling and we have received a lot of interest from new growers over the recent weeks due to black grass, rotational changes and three crop rule requirements.

Contracts will soon be available for a number of varieties for Harvest 2017 – Please contact the office for more information.

Please see below for more information on this year’s spring barley crop:



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