Canada has harvested the largest crop of malting barley in the last four years due to ideal dry harvest weather. This helped to cut the premium of Canadian malting barley over those from Australia by half to $10-$20 per ton and fueled demand from overseas customers, according to Peter Watts, managing director of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC).
Buyers include Chinese maltsters like COFCO and Supertime, which take advantage of the bargain prices. Exports of barley from Canada to China more than doubled compared to the previous year. 542,000 tons were shipped up to date, which is a 126 percent increase. This comes despite a drop in total supply of barley to 9.53 million tons from 10.29 million tons last year. During the whole grain year, which ends July 31, China is expected to import a total of 1 million tons of Canadian barley.
The increased amount will replace barley from Australia and Europe, the world’s two biggest barley-exporting areas, where farmers harvested this year crops below average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Europe’s barley crop at 59 million tons and Australia’s at 8 million, which both mark the smallest crop in the last five years.
Argentina, another big producer of malting barley has recently started the harvest, but it is still too early to give a final statement of the overall crop.