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Welcome for Norfolk barley

PUBLISHED: 09:06 24 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

A new three-year contract for Norfolk malting barley has been launched by one of the country's leading independent maltsters.

Bob King, commercial director of Crisp Malting Group, outlined a proposal to run from the 2007 harvest to Norfolk farmers at its base at Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham.

A new three-year contract for Norfolk malting barley has been launched by one of the country's leading independent maltsters.

Bob King, commercial director of Crisp Malting Group, outlined a proposal to run from the 2007 harvest to Norfolk farmers at its base at Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham.

He told the 60 specialist malting growers that Crisp would work on an "open book" approach with two local agricultural merchants and farmers' representatives.

The Crisp group, which was taken over by a consortium of investors including David Thomp-son, chairman of Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, is keen to forge a new partnership for the medium and long term with growers and merchants.

Mr King said: "There is increased competition for Norfolk barley. We've got barley going to Scotland, to the near continent and into Suffolk."

On the rising costs of moving barley, he said: "We have a situa-tion where we move 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of barley into Norfolk to replace malting barley going out of Norfolk."

Crisp had annual demand for 150,000 tonnes of malting barley for its Norfolk maltings, said Mr King. So, Cyril Adams, of Adams & Howling, Tom Rivett, of

H Banham, of Hempton, near Fakenham, and farmer Ed Jones, from Little Witchingham, had sat down to thrash out what everyone could do.

He added:"It has to be Norfolk barley for Norfolk maltings. We have got to make sure that these maltings here are supplied out of Norfolk. We want in this partner-ship to look for a medium and long term commitment from all of us.

"We recognise, whatever is done, that it must be flexible and able to reflect the change in market conditions. We want to be able to talk to people if the market moves.

"Whatever we do needs to be transparent for the growers, ourselves, so that everyone can see what the benefit is for everybody and nobody is trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. Our initial contract offer is for three years from 2007 to 2009."

"The big issue is long-term viable markets - we're here for the long term," said Mr King.

"We've all issues on prices, but, fortunately, there has been a little movement in the market in the last six months.

"I think it would be fair to say we have come of the bottom of the trough in general."

The Crisp group also has maltings at Ditchingham and at Portgordon and Alloa in Scotland.


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