Europe: Dry weather impedes malting barley market

Dry conditions of this year’s harvest have caused higher level of protein in malting barley in many growing regions in Europe. “Average proteins range from 12.5 % in Scandinavia to 13/15 % in Central Europe,” states  H.M. Gauger in his market report on Friday.

Like in other years with difficult weather conditions, the question is not if there is enough malting barley in the market but how flexible brewers are to adapt their specifications to the available qualities. “There have been reasonable agreements made between brewers, maltsters and producers to tolerate higher protein specifications, but there are stubborn industries as well insisting on normal terms,” says H.M. Gauger.

A malting barley premium of about 10 to 15 Euros per ton for this crop’s barley is unattractive to sellers and may lead to larger amounts of malting barley to disappear in the feed sector. If this happens, malting barley prices will stay high or even climb up higher and the price of barley from crop 2019 which is currently attractively priced in relation to crop 2018 may surge as well.

The dry weather conditions in Europe have also led to delayed sowing of winter crops. With weather conditions changing in the last weeks and rainfall starting across Europe it look like worse consequences could be averted in the last moment.

“Logistics remain difficult with low water levels on the rivers like Mosel, Rhine etc. Border crossing traffic is complicated and expensive; this is why local malting barley is consumed at much higher levels than usual … at some stage imports need to be done as the local barley will be eaten up soon,” states GrainCom in its newsletter which was also published on Friday.

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