The prospects for Scotland’s premier arable crop, spring malting barley, will come under the spotlight at the Highland Show next week. Malting quality barley is the key ingredient in the production of Scotch whisky.
With the whisky industry worth £3 billion to the Scottish economy, the world economic slowdown has cast a shadow over valuable export markets. Nervousness over future growth in sales of our national drink has filtered down to ground level where farmers, this season, have struggled to secure malting barley contracts with the trade.
An NFU Scotland seminar at the Highland Show will see the Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, Gavin Hewitt, outline the prospects for Scotch Whisky. The Seminar will take place in the President’s Marquee on Friday, 26 June at 10.00am to 11.00am and will also include a presentation from Susan Twining of ADAS on the impact that European legislation will have on the availability of plant protection products in the future.
In announcing this important event, NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee Chair, John Picken said:
“The outlook for Scotch whisky is the single most important factor affecting the demand and price paid for Scottish malting barley. In the short term, poor planting conditions in the autumn means that the area of Scotland sown with spring barley is significantly up. Those currently growing spring barley crops will all be hoping to achieve a premium price this season if they meet the quality criteria for malting. Growers need to know the prospects for the market this autumn as well as hearing the long-term vision for the whisky sector in Scotland. The Scotch Whisky Association is ideally placed to provide growers with the necessary steer.
“In the future, various pieces of European-led legislation may have an impact on our ability to produce crops like spring barley and contribute to the production of food and drink in this country. Scotland’s mild, damp climate means that we need a wide armoury of plant protection products to ensure that we can grow crops to the best of our ability and in a responsible manner. Recently agreed European legislation on plant protection products will limit their availability and this could seriously affect both the cost and the viability of growing certain crops in Scotland. ADAS has recently compiled a report on the impact of the new legislation and that report will also be discussed at our seminar.”
“This is a hugely important seminar that could highlight the shape of Scotland’s arable production in the future and I would recommend it to any grower attending the show.”
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