Laois grower 2020 Glanbia Grain Supplier of the Year

GLANBIA GRAIN RI Farm
WINNER: John Fletcher beat off stiff competition from fellow growers.

LAOIS 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 supp-liers honoured for producing top-class native Irish grain.

John farms with his father, also named 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. 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.”

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. 2020 was no different with 60 per cent 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 per cent nationally in 2020 but the outlook for 2021 looks promising,” he said.

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