Glanbia Agribusiness honoured its top-quality grain growers at an awards ceremony in Portlaoise today.

Kildare tillage farmers Olwyn and Liam Owens from Grangenolvin, Athy, Co Kildare, were announced as the Overall Glanbia Quality Grain Grower Award winners for 2013 and were presented with their award by Glanbia chairman, Liam Herlihy.

As Ireland’s largest purchaser and user of native grain, Glanbia also presented category awards to growers who achieved the highest standard across each of their grain categories.

Olwyn and her dad Liam run a mixed farming operation of tillage and beef.  Their award-winning crop was Cassia winter barley, which yielded 4.2 tonnes per acre with 71KPH, while they also grow winter oats and winter wheat on the farm.

Presenting the Glanbia trophy and a Waterford crystal award to the overall quality winners, Herlihy complimented Olwyn and Liam on their achievement.

“Quality assurance, traceability and high standards are essential to success.  The high quality of their crop, Cassia winter barley, demonstrates why Ireland and Irish farmers deservedly enjoy an excellent reputation throughout the world for our quality food and drink products.

“All our award winners today can be justifiably proud of their achievement, not only having succeeded in producing grain to the highest standards but for doing so in a commercially efficient and environmentally friendly way.”

The chairman continued: “Glanbia is proud to be associated with a quality awards scheme that rewards growers who produce crops under a quality assured system, with excellent crop husbandry and farm records.  We are committed to quality initiatives, such as this, to preserve and enhance that reputation.  In 2013 Glanbia handled 185,000 tonnes of grain from growers in the Glanbia catchment area.”

CEO of Glanbia Agribusiness, Colm Eustace, also complimented the winners on their achievement.

“We are fortunate to have such high-quality producers working with Glanbia. They are comparable to the best in the world and are well positioned to compete on an international stage. Glanbia is strongly committed to the Irish grain industry and to working in partnership with our Irish grain growers.  In recent years we invested significantly in our facilities at Portlaoise, Clonroche and Ballitore and are currently commissioning our new food grade Oats Mill in Portlaoise.

“This new Oats Mill will create a fully traceable supply chain from seed propagation for the oats crop through to despatch of the finished product. We continue to work with all our growers to develop alternative purchasing models for grain, ie premium contracts for winter barley, malting barley, equine and milling oats and seed grain.”

He also thanked Dick Walsh and the staff of the Malting Company of Ireland for their support throughout the year and particularly for his judging of the awards along with other judging partners, James Nolan of R&H Hall and Marian Murphy, Glanbia agri-business grain operations manager.

Glanbia Quality Grain Grower Category Awards were also presented to:

Food Grade Oats

Ross Hendy, Cloncrane, Clonbulloge, Co. Offaly

Winter Barley

Olwyn & Liam Owens, Grangenolvin, Athy, Co. Kildare

Malting Barley

Stephen Gallwey, Woodlands, Half-Way-House, Co. Waterford

Oilseed Rape

Joe Bracken, Foxcourt Money, Kilcormac, Co. Offaly

Feed Wheat

David Delahunt, Bonabrocka, Wicklow

Spring Feed Barley

Padraig & Barry Mitchell, Hillfarm, Kilberry, Navan, Co. Meath

Equine Oats

Tom Carthy, Galbally, Crossabeg, Co. Wexford

Seed Category

Eamon Thomas McGrath, Garryhundon, Milford, Co. Carlow

Dried Wheat

Willie Buttimer, Longwood, Co. Meath

Dried Barley

Donal O’Connor, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary