Does the lockdown lead to a barley flood?

Gordon Davidson presents the current situation of Scottish farmers, who mainly grow and supply barley for the Scottish whisky industry, on The Scottish Farmer in his article "Lockdown barley glut?". Production in the distilleries is down. Many are now operated only with emergency personnel, many now produce ethanol for hand disinfectants. But no distillery is currently operating at full capacity. And nobody can predict exactly when this will be again.

In view of this situation, the farmers now do not know what will become of their currently grown summer barley. If whiskey production is not resumed as usual and the demand for barley does not increase again, an oversupply of barley and the farmers will face great financial losses. The Scottish Tory MSP Edward Mountain formulated the current situation during a virtual Question Time by the Scottish Parliament as follows:

“Farmers across Scotland have just planted hundreds of thousands of acres of spring barley, especially for whiskey production. If this barley is not needed due to the closure of distilleries, the impact on the agricultural industry will be devastating. ”

In Ireland, too, the situation of barley farmers is anything but rosy, even though the Guinness brewery usually requires a lot of barley here. The bulk buyer Boortmalt, we read, made sudden cuts in the contracts. In this context, Irish producers also raise questions about stocks of imported cereals that are used before domestic products.


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