I don't really understand this myself, but I know it's a common agricultural problem. I suspect that the statement “On average it costs over £100 to produce a tonne of malting barley, yet farmers’ prices have consistently been £90 a tonne or less” is a simplification of the situation, else the decision not to grow is a no-brainer. How can the market price remain below the cost of production for any length of time? The laws of supply and demand ought to take care of this over the long term, but apparently they do not. Perhaps barley farmers should form some sort of co-op. But if barley from England or elsewhere is cheaper and undercuts Scottish farmers, what recourse is there, other than subsidies? Now we have European legal issues as well as agricultural ones, and it's all beyond my ken.