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The moisture content of barley to be bought by Maltsters

(This moisture scale is primarily for malting industry usage)

The prevention of mycotoxins in grain remains an important food safety control, and maltsters are not complacent about the fact that compliance tests over several years have shown no problems in their malt. Mould on grain has always been a reason for maltsters’ refusal of a delivery. Such mould is either formed in the field, where prevention is under the growers’ control through good agronomy, or it can occur after harvest as a result of storing grain at different combinations of temperature, moisture and time profiles. The key control for the prevention of grain storage mycotoxins is to ensure that adverse conditions do not exist that can encourage mould growth.

The MAGB moisture allowance scheme

The MAGB moisture allowance scheme, which covers moisture contents up to 19.0%, is fully operational ONLY for the period of harvest, which is deemed to end at 31st October each year. The scheme is applicable to barley delivered to MAGB members intakes.  Malting barley growers’ and suppliers’ attention is drawn to the following statements.

Harvest Intake Period

(commencement of harvest to 31st October)
For deliveries with moisture above 14.5%, the MAGB scheme applies. Contracts based on 15.0% will not apply the first line of the table.

14.6 – 15.0
15.1 - 16.0
16.1 - 17.0
17.1 - 18.0
18.1 - 19.0
*These are not cumulative

For deliveries with moisture content in excess of 19.0% reference must be made to individual Maltster’s Terms and Conditions of Trade for allowances due for moisture and drying charges.

Forward Intake Period

(1st November onwards for the crop year)
All malting barley deliveries should be presented at maximum of 14.5% moisture unless agreed otherwise in advance with the intake point concerned. Should a maltster choose to accept grain above 14.5%, there may be additional testing charges and drying charges applied under individual maltsters terms and conditions.

Stored Grain

From the time of harvest, all cereals must be stored and managed in such a way as to minimise the risk of moulds that may produce mycotoxins. In the UK the maximum storage moisture is often quoted as being 14.5%, but it is important to evaluate the combination of temperature and moisture rather than moisture alone. The impact of various temperature and moisture combinations can be determined using the AHDB Safe Storage Calculator (for further information see the AHDB Grain Storage Guide and the AHDB safe storage time calculator). The safe storage calculator provides a guide to food safety risk and may be accompanied by a due diligence testing protocol to provide assurance of safe storage prior to delivery.

Updated: September 2020