All action at Ballyclare

Silage prize winners
Silage prize winners

Once again it is time for an update of activities in the Ballyclare Group.

Thanks go to the members and friends who came along to listen to the guest speakers and take part in the activities.

The joint meeting with the Larne and Crumlin groups was held in Greenmount. Aileen Lawson, senior policy officer with the UFU, and John Gilliland, chairman of the Ammonia working group, gave an informative and concise presentation on the current difficulties facing farmers wanting to put up new cattle houses and the associated ammonia issues.

The President’s Roadshow was well attended in the Tullyglass, where the uncertainties of Brexit were high on the agenda. Instead of Money Matters for the February meeting, members invited George McGarry, from TGM Software Solutions, to bring them up to speed on ‘Making Tax Digital’.

He demonstrated completing a tax return online, highlighting what will be required and how simple it can be.

The group’s AGM took place in February. Outgoing chairman George Gault thanked the members, the group managers and the staff in the Ballyclare Office for their support over the past two years in office.

Ricky Lee, group manager from Larne UFU, lead the AGM and selection of office bearers. Sammy Moore was voted in as the new chairman for the next two years and Mark Nelson the new vice chair.

Joyce McConnell, Group Manager, along with George McGarry, presented all prize winners within the group for both the local silage and cereals competitions.

The following prizes were awarded:


Winter Barley - 1st, Kyle McCrea; 2nd, Dessie Gillespie.

Spring Barley – 1st, Jonny Coleman; 2nd, William Johnston.

Winter wheat – 1st, Kyle McCrea; 2nd, Kyle McCrea.


Dairy over 1000T – 1st, Denis Boyd; 2nd, Alan McNair

Dairy under 1000T – 1st, Ian Bell

Beef and sheep – 1st, Roger and Hilary Bell; 2nd, Sammy Moore

Big Bales – 1st, George and James Robson; 2nd, Gilbert Ashcroft

This year the UFU silage competition had a new sponsor, United Feeds, and they introduced a slightly different format for judging and analysing the silage.

Sam Watson, well known feed rep with United Feeds, gave up a day to judge the Ballyclare Group entries. The three categories were Beef and Sheep, Dairy and for the first time Big bales. Roger and Hilary Bell, George and James Robson and Denis Boyd all made it through to the second round of the competition. George and James were first overall in the Big Bale and Roger and Hilary Bell were second in the Beef and Sheep section in the Northern Ireland final.

The group hopes to run a family fundraising event in the summer to raise funds for a chosen charity. Also on the agenda will be the annual coach trip.

As always, the Ballyclare group managers and office staff are available to assist with farming issues with the help from UFU Headquarters staff and the technical officers.