After winter and spring barley crop in France and Germany is almost finished, first reliable estimates for the supply and demand of malting barley can be given. Both France and Germany report satisfactory results with average qualities and quantities.
According to a recent report by German Brewing Barley Association, acreage of spring barley in Germany has been increased compared to the previous year by 1% to 340,000 hectares, while volumes of barley suited for malting and brewing from crop 2017 will amount to about 1.2 million tons, which is 5% higher than last year.
Crucial for the overall balance will be the crop results in Northern Europe, especially UK, Denmark and Sweden, which always start the crop a few weeks later than Central Europe. Abundant rain and weather forecasts with more rain to come worry farmers and the processing industry.
Lower Saxony in the north of Germany saw at the beginning of this week heavy rainfalls,which flooded villages and fields. Within two days more than 130 liters of rain per square meter were measured in several regions of the country. Some fields with rapeseed, wheat, triticale and rye could not be harvested before the rain and will be lost. Combines are not able to get on the wet fields, which will even more delay and deteriorate the crop. Fortunately enough for brewers and maltsters, this will have only marginal influence on malting barley, which is usually one of the earliest grains to harvest.
Nevertheless, a similar event in Scandinavia could severely damage grain, which is still in the field. The supply and demand balance of malting barley will be even with a normal crop at most balanced. Another unforeseen weather event could easily lead to a minor disaster. In the view of this, barley prices have advanced by 5 Euro per ton last week.