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Fengrain launches new marketing pool for malting barley

February 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops


Fengrain has launched a new late-entry spring barley marketing pool to assist growers without a contract who are using the crop as part of a strategy to beat blackgrass.

Phil Garnham, malting barley specialist for the co-operative, said it was clear from the amount of land still to be drilled that the 2017 spring barley area was on the increase. “Growers are increasingly turning to spring cropping as part of the battle to beat blackgrass,” he said.

“Spring barley was, for many, also the best performing crop of 2016, with quality very good. In 2016 we saw 660,000ha of spring barley in the UK and the AHDB Early Bird Survey published in November predicted the spring barley area could be 17% higher at 799,000ha.”

Spring cropping

Good autumn sowing conditions may mean that there have been more winter plantings than expected, but the move towards spring cropping meant the spring barley area was still likely to be well over 700,000ha, said Mr Garnham.

“We know that lots of seed has been bought ready for this spring and we believe our new pool will be valuable, particularly to those people who have not been regular growers, but are returning to spring barley for agronomic and rotational reasons.”

Mr Garnham said growers had until 1 April to commit tonnage into the pool which will be sold into the market for harvest movement. “Many other pools close in January, but we realise that most people won’t get their crop into the ground until February or March and so will appreciate greater flexibility.”

Mr Garnham said returns for malting barley had been good in 2016, despite plentiful supplies. Varieties that are being sought for the pool are Propino, Oddysey, Planet and Concerto – all varieties popular with the brewing industry. There is no minimum or maximum tonnage.

More competitive

Demand from the brewing industry was relatively flat so a big crop in 2017 would put pressure on the market. But if the pound weakened once Article 50 was triggered, then it would make the UK crop more competitive which would boost any export campaign.

Not all growers want to use pools, but they can be used as an important part of a marketing strategy. Fengrain already has a wide range of pool marketing options which have seen strong growth over the past three years as farmers have sought to spread their risk in a volatile market.