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17 September 2020

Heterogeneous spring barley in Europe

Malting barley report | The spring barley harvest in Europe is heterogeneous this year. More acreage in some countries does not necessarily mean a larger supply of good quality batches. Nevertheless, there is an abundant supply of spring barley available. A corona conditioned smaller demand for beer affects the demand.

According to the current situation, the best results can be offered by farmers in Denmark. On a much larger area good yields, dry barley and good screenings with the required protein values are brought in. An export surplus of 350 000 t to 600 000 t can be expected. Similarly good reports come from Sweden. Here the harvest is in its final stages in the middle of the country. The export surplus is expected to be between 150 000 and 160 000 t. In Finland, rain has affected the harvest. So here quality losses are expected.

Great Britain is not always able to fulfill hopes in terms of quality and yield with the significant expansion of the acreage. A wet spring, drought and, most recently, wet harvest weather have had a negative impact on harvesting results. In some cases, the harvest in the south of the country has not yet been brought in. In Scotland, too, most of the harvest has not yet been brought in. The export surplus is uncertain due to the harvest problem. Partly there are already buybacks.

Despite the significantly larger acreage, no more spring barley was harvested in France than in the previous year. The drought in the spring had a negative impact on yields. Qualities are not always convincing either. Partly high protein values and disappointing sreenings characterize the harvest. Nevertheless, an export surplus of 71 percent of the total harvest is expected.

In Germany, no top yields with large regional differences were achieved this year. The weather had an impact on yield and quality, and in some cases also on the screening. The harvest is at the same level as last year. Import requirements of around 1.0 million tons remain. Good quality is reported from the Netherlands, also due to good weather conditions during the harvest. The yields leave something to be desired due to the drought in May and June.

The Czech Republic had a good harvest, even though late harvested lots were affected by rain. Nevertheless, hardly any import demand is expected. Exports to neighboring areas in Germany are possible. Above average yields are reported from Slovakia due to the rain in May and June. While malting barley accounted for 50 percent of the harvest in previous years, this year it is 75 percent. Heavy rains in May and June have had a negative impact on the growth of stocks in the south and southeast of Poland. In the north the vegetation was more satisfactory. Protein and grading of barley in Hungary is described as very good.

Malting Barley market

Prices for spring malting barley have continued to fall in the past weeks. However, a certain bottom seems to have been reached. One trigger is the good export business with barley in general from France to China. China has imposed punitive tariffs on its usual purchases from Australia. However, this sales channel is not a self-runner. Alternatives to France for the supply of barley exist and are also used by China. In addition, sellers for spring barley in the EU are currently few on the market. It is also assumed, that malting barley will find its way into the feed trough due to the low premiums of around 15 EUR/t to 20 EUR/t to feed barley.

The British were initially more pressing on the market to be able to place goods on the continent by 31.12.2020. However, the weaker qualities and yields are now leading to somewhat more restraint.

The demand of the big brewers is also described as quiet. Attention is focused on the remaining supply in the first half of the year and on the harvest 2021. Smaller breweries should be somewhat more active on the market again. After the easing of the restrictions due to Corona, the demand for malt has improved again somewhat. A significant surplus is expected in the EU this year. The possibility cannot be ruled out for the coming year of cultivation that the areas for spring barley will be significantly smaller, provided that weather conditions in autumn allow winter sowing.