Ireland. Strong domestic demand for barley reduces exports
Most Scottish barley is being sold to the domestic market, with very little leaving the UK.
This time last year over a dozen boatloads of barley had been sent from Scotland, but fewer than three ships have been sent to take the 2016 crop. High domestic demand has meant most of Scotland’s 2016 barley crop is staying in the country. Many sight the pig sector in driving local demand.
Fall in exports
Exports have also fallen for the simple reason that the grain is not there to ship. Yields fell by on average half a tonne an acre from 2015 to 2016. Furthermore the 2016 crop was also of poorer quality, with smaller grain size.
Grain merchants must guarantee a minimum of 63kg per hectolitre at shipping for most export customers. This is measured as the grain goes on to the ship at the port. If the grain fails then the boat leaves empty costing merchants significantly. The 2016 crop has meant that many grain merchants are not willing to take the risk of any rejections at harbours.
Prices being quoted for feed barley at the moment are around £122/t which is a significant rise on recent years. Much of this is influenced by strong domestic demand and the weak pound. The Brexit-induced fall in currency has been estimated to be worth around £15/t to barley growers.
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