Two grain growers from Co Wexford were among those recognised for the excellence of their crops at this year's Glanbia Ireland grain awards ceremony in Kilkenny.
Padraig Kehoe, The Ballagh, Enniscorthy, and Neil Tector, Coolbawn Cottage, Rathnure, were honoured for the outstanding quality of their 2018 harvest crops.
Richard Thomson-Moore, a grain grower from Barne Estate in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, claimed the overall Glanbia Ireland Grain Supplier of the Year award.
Mr Kehoe farms 200ha in conjunction with his father Paddy in The Ballagh.
His winning crop of seed wheat was the variety Costello which averaged a specific weight of almost 80 kph and a protein reading of 11.2 per cent at a moisture percentage of 16.4 across 90-plus tonnes.
Crops grown are winter wheat, winter barley and spring malting barley. Mr Kehoe also grows a range of break crops such as equine oats, oilseed rape and field beans which are very important for his rotation and to allow entry for higher value seed crops.
The Kehoe's put a lot of effort into crop husbandry and the attention to detail on the farm is second to none. Particular emphasis is put into seed bed preparation and getting fungicide treatments applied at the correct timings.
Mr Tector operates a mixed farming system at Rathnure along with his wife Anne and children Robert, Charlie, Emma and Katie.
The main crops grown on the farm are spring barley and winter oats. The Tector's also run sheep and equine enterprises on the farm. Neil's winning barley crop averaged a specific weight of over 69kph, 0.5 per cent screenings and 10.5 per cent protein at 19.8 per cent moisture across 125 tonnes.
Glanbia chairman Martin Keane congratulated all the award winners on the high standards achieved despite the weather challenges of the season. 'The award winning growers are great examples of the traceability and high standards that are essential for the success of the Irish grain industry,' he said.
'These growers set the bar for all other farmers to achieve,' he added.
Glanbia Ireland Chief Agribusiness Growth Officer Sean Molloy spoke at the ceremony and said the company continues to make significant investments to develop new markets for grain growers.
"The Glanbia grain strategy for a number of years has been to move as much grain as possible out of commodity markets and into premium niche categories,' he said.
'Last harvest, over 40 per cent of our total grain intake attracted a market premium above the base price,' he added.
'These premiums deliver significant benefits to our growers and we understand that Glanbia has a higher proportion of its grain in premium contracts.'