Europe: Drought in Northern Europe eats up good prospects for malting barley

Barley is traded at a premium since a few months. “The lowest world crop since years (143 Mill. tons), large consumption (147 Mill. tons) and a record low end stock of 18 Mill. tons drove up market prices to levels above wheat and corn in world markets,” writes H.M. Gauger in his latest market report from Wednesday.

Winter planting of wheat and barley in last autumn was difficult all over northern Europe because of too much rain. Therefore higher acreage for spring plantings were recorded. Surprisingly also France and Germany show higher acreage for spring barley. Monitoring Agricultural ResourceS (MARS), a crop forecasting unit of the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre, has reported good seeding conditions for most of the EU countries, albeit late by one to three weeks. Growing conditions are decent to good in Spain, France, Southern Germany, Czechia and Slovakia. However Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltic countries and Northern Germany have been lacking rainfall and no improvement over the short term is in sight.

Despite a record acreage of 685.000 ha of malting barley in Denmark following last autumn’s planting disaster, experts see problems with this year’s crop.  Drought conditions diminish yields and qualities of malting barley. If the dry weather conditions in Scandinavia hold on, higher protein levels in malting barley are very likely.

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