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Laois Winner of overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award Winner
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Laois Winner of overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award Winner

Green Oilseed Rape award also came home to Laois

Champion food grade oats growers, John and Ann Deering and their son, Mark, have won the coveted overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award for 2023 and have been singled out for their exceptional attention to detail in growing top quality grains on the family farm.

The Deering family, from Morette near Emo in County Laois, also won the individual Food Grade Oats award for harvest 2023. The champion growers were among 14 top suppliers commended at the highly-competitive Tirlán Quality Grain Awards for 2023 ceremony that took place today, Tuesday, February 20th 2024 in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

20/2/24 Champion food grade oats growers, John and Mark Deering, from Morette near Emo in County Laois, won the coveted overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award for 2023. The champion growers were among 14 top suppliers commended at the ceremony. Pictured (L to R) Tirlán Chairperson John Murphy; Award winner John Deering; Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development; Award winner Mark Deering; Tirlán Director of Agribusiness Ailish Byrne and CEO Designate Seán Molloy. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke NO REPRO FEE

New research from Teagasc on the Tirlán grain pool shows that Irish grain has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. The research unveiled at the awards is the first of its kind using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology specifically developed for Irish grain on a wide range of commercially-grown Irish cereals. Accounting for straw incorporation, the study showed the net carbon footprint could be close to net zero.

Addressing the Awards, Martin Heydon T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development, commended the award-winning growers on their dedication to delivering the highest quality grain, while also farming sustainably.

20/2/24 Champion food grade oats growers, John and Mark Deering, from Morette near Emo in County Laois, hold the coveted overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award trophies for 2023. The champion growers were among 14 top suppliers commended at the ceremony. Pictured (L to R) Tirlán Chairperson John Murphy; Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development; Director of Agribusiness Ailish Byrne and CEO Designate Seán Molloy. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke NO REPRO FEE

“I congratulate today’s 14 champion growers on their quality produce and commend Tirlán for its continued investment in research and development at its Innovation Centre in Ballyragget which I’ve visited previously and at its high-spec Oat Mill here in Portlaoise.

“In what was a difficult year for weather conditions, Tirlán’s growers produced top quality grains on farms across this catchment, as showcased here today. They take immense pride in what they do, how they farm, how they nurture and respect the land. This dedication, passion and commitment to sustainability is what sets Irish grains apart, as evidenced by the research work unveiled here today. We continue to strive to find new markets and add value to this quality Irish produce.”

John Murphy, Tirlán Chairperson, said it was one of the most challenging years in living memory for grains but commended Tirlán’s 1,100 plus growers on the resilience they’ve shown. “The commitment to quality and passion shown by the award-winning growers, coupled with the sustainability credentials of the crops, bodes well for the future of Irish grain.   

“As the largest buyer and user of premium Irish grains, Tirlán is investing in the future of Irish grain. Tirlán paid our growers almost €3 million in additional bonuses last year, specifically for premium grains.  And in spite of the exceptionally challenging weather, we doubled our gluten-free oats intake last year.

“We’ve built strong capabilities in our Oat Mill in Portlaoise and in R&D with a view to maximising returns for our farm families. We continue to expand our plant-based offerings and we’re evolving our portfolio to meet growing global demand in key markets such as North America, Europe and Asia where demand for sustainably produced, fully traceable product made from quality Irish grains continues to grow. Our new Avonmore Oat Drinks are performing very well in Ireland and the Asian market, and we recently launched a new Truly Oat beverage range into the US market.

“As plans for harvest 2024 continue, we remain committed to facilitating sustainable growth in the grain sector, in line with Government ambitions. Our grains team are out working with our valued growers, assessing and harnessing regenerative agriculture practices on farms and continuously improving the sustainability credentials of the premium portfolio.”

20/2/24 Champion food grade oats growers, John and Mark Deering, from Morette near Emo in County Laois, won the coveted overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award for 2023. The champion growers were among 14 top suppliers commended at the ceremony. Pictured (L to R) Tirlán Chairperson John Murphy; Award winner John Deering; Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development; Award winner Mark Deering; Tirlán Director of Agribusiness Ailish Byrne and CEO Designate Seán Molloy. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke NO REPRO FEE

Tirlán Quality Grain Awards Overall Winners John and Ann Deering farm with their son, Mark and grow a range of crops on the family farm. The main crop grown is cassia winter barley.  Break crops used on the farm are winter oilseed rape, spring beans, winter gluten-free oats and winter food grade oats. Winter wheat and contracted spring barley are also grown.

A delighted John Deering said: “We were honoured to come here today to receive the Food Grade Oats award. But to win the Overall Award for 2023 is a huge boost, particularly when last year was such a tough one for growers.”

Son, Mark Deering, added: “We focus on doing the little things well and are very thankful to our agronomist, Tim Scott, for his help throughout the year. It’s lovely to be recognised for the work we do as a family to produce a range of quality crops in a sustainable way. We’re thrilled to be going home with two wins. It makes the hard work very worthwhile and we will enjoy celebrating these wins.”

Crops on the Deering family farm are established mainly by min till and organic manures are used on some of the land. Attention to detail is a hallmark of their success in growing quality grains.  The winning crop had an average specific weight of 57.8 kph at 17.6% moisture across 214 tonnes and incidentally was a crop of gluten-free oats. The Deering family’s Tirlán agronomist is Tim Scott.

A second Laois grower also received an Award. The Green Oilseed Rape award went to P. O’Connell Farms, Ballintogher, Ballybrittas, Co. Laois. Paul and Áine O’Connell’s farm is in Ballintogher, Ballybrittas on the Laois/Kildare border. They farm a range of crops. The main crop is winter barley (both 2-row and hybrid) followed in the rotation by winter wheat, High Erucic Acid Oilseed (HEAR) Rape, spring barley and oats.

The Tirlán Quality Grain Awards for 2023 celebrated the best of Irish grain with 14 top suppliers commended at the ceremony held in Portlaoise on February 20th, 2024. P O’Connell Farms in Ballybrittas, Co Laois received the award for Green Oilseed Rape. Pictured (L to R) were Tirlán Vice-Chairperson Brendan Hayes, Award-winner Paul O’Connell and his father Dan, Agronomist Peter O’Grady and Tirlán Chief ESG Officer Lisa Koep. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke NO REPRO FEE

Paul is a strong advocator of the use of Wolftax Trace elements both on the fertiliser and foliar. He sees it as important addition to establishing a healthy thriving crop. The winning crop averaged an oil content of 54.8% at a moisture content of 10.2% across 90 tonnes. This crop was the High Erucic Acid Rape (HEAR) variety Ergo. Paul’s Tirlán agronomist is Peter O’Grady.