Australian barley exporters seek new beer-producing markets

After China’s trade ban, Australian barley exporters are urged to find brewing countries as potential new markets for their grain.

Photo by Vinicius Garcias Andrade

In 2020, China imposed an 80% tariff on Australian barley, ending the trade. The grain had been used primarily to brew beer.

Grain Growers trade policy director Amelia Shaw said to sell the crop was exported to feed markets, but growers were now looking for a premium price again.

We are looking for markets that want to produce and use the good quality barley we have grown that is suitable for beer.


Need to think creatively

Ms. Shaw said that while trade with China effectively ended overnight, building new export markets would not be so quick.

It takes time and building relationships,” she said.

The Chinese industry was very familiar with the quality we had and how it was suitable for their brewing processes.”

Traditionally, malted barley for beer production commanded a premium price, while barley for animal feed commanded a lower price.

However, feed prices have risen dramatically, closing the price gap.

Barley farmer Nick Hillier, who grows barley in southeastern Australia, said it had been good for producers.

People used to try to grow malted [barley], but nowadays, with feed prices pushing the price of malt, it often doesn’t make much difference,” he said.

Most growers are looking for maximum yield and if they access the malt market that’s fine, but if not, the feed market is not far behind.

I’m pretty sure growers in the state will do well, whether it’s for the malt market or the feed market.”

Although feed and malted barley prices are similar at this time, the industry will continue to look to beer markets to prop up a future premium price.

Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


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