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Laois grower named Glanbia Ireland Grain Supplier of the Year

John C Fletcher from Ballykilane, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

Winners of the Glanbia Grain Awards announced

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Horticulture

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11 February 2021 | 0

Laois-based grain grower, John C Fletcher, has claimed the Glanbia Ireland Grain supplier of the Year Award for 2020 and the Seed Barley category champion, beating off stiff competition from fellow growers nationwide.

The fourth-generation farmer from Ballykillane outside of Portarlington is among 12 suppliers honoured for producing top-class native Irish grain.

Fletcher farms with his father, John. He grows winter crops of wheat, barley, oats, and oilseed rape along with spring crops of malting barley, feed beans and oilseed rape. He uses beans and oilseed rape as an entry crop to seed crops whenever possible. Most are sown using a plough-based, establishment system.

“Rotation is key,” said Fletcher. “We’re always trying to build fertility in the soil as we’re in continuous tillage. 2020 wasn’t a great year as drought got us very early on. Yields were poor and were down about a half tonne an acre on 2019 levels. But thankfully the quality was good, and price was better than previous years.”

As well as tending to several hundred acres, Fletcher and his family run a hardware and electrical contracting business which employs over 130 people. Currently under construction is a 25,000 sq. ft hardware retail store.

Glanbia Grain Awards – category winners 2020

Winter (Cassia) Feed Barley Richard Thomson-Moore, Barne Estate, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
Malting Barley Diarmuid MacAmhlaoibh, Ballyarra, Castlelyons, Co. Cork.
Green Feed Barley Martin Hayden, Coolroe, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny.
Dried Feed Barley Michael Cloney, Curracloe, Co. Wexford.
Seed Barley John C. Fletcher, Ballykillane, Portarlington, Co. Laois.
Green Feed Wheat Patrick McEvoy, Kilberry, Athy, Co. Kildare.
Dried Feed Wheat Philip Doyle, Lullymore Farm, Rathangan, Co. Kildare
Seed Wheat The Brennan Family, Chapel Avenue Farm, Barrowhouse, Athy, Co. Kildare.
Food Grade Oats John Leahy, The Heath Farm, Athy, Co. Kildare.
Green Feed Oats Tom McKeown, Knock, Castletown, Navan, Co. Meath.
Green Feed Beans Philip Murphy, Ballykerogue, Campile, Co. Wexford.
Green Oilseed Rape Ivan Curran, Broadleas Farm, Broadleas, Stamullen, Co.Meath.

 

Glanbia Ireland chairman John Murphy congratulated the growers whose excellence and attention to detail are recognised as central to the exceptionally high standards in the industry, as evidenced at the latest awards. He looks forward to a promising year ahead.

“Grain farmers across Ireland continue to produce extremely high-quality grains, albeit in very challenging weather conditions over the past number of years,” said Murphy. “2020 was no different with 60% more than average rainfall and high winds wreaking havoc in the south and south east, particularly in August. Despite all of this, our award winners and their fellow growers excelled and have raised the bar even further this year.

“Production was down an estimated 18% nationally in 2020 but the outlook for 2021 looks promising. Forecasts look good, prices have increased and there’s a confidence that markets have strengthened and hopefully that the trend will continue.”

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