Allan Chambers chairman of the Ulster Farmers’ Union cereals committee is encouraging livestock farmers to support their local cereal growers this harvest.
“When the weather permits and as local harvesting is in full swing across Northern Ireland, every effort should be made to capitalise on the opportunity to do business locally with your neighbouring cereal farmer,” said Allan Chambers. He said this concept of farmers helping other farmers made economic and market success, at a time when the entire agricultural industry is under enormous financial pressure.
“Local grain traded between farmers offers good value for money. It cuts out unnecessary haulage costs and often makes a higher quality ration than some imported by products,” he said, adding that it also boosted livestock farmers’ local sourcing credentials and quality assurance with retailers.
Mr Chambers said the UFU cereal competitions have concluded and once again the results underlined the professionalism, skill and knowledge that exist within the sector.
“As cereal growers we face many challenges outside our control. The recent variable weather conditions have resulted in lower yields, this coupled with very unpredictable global grain markets will have an impact this year – but what we can guarantee is quality, local supplies to our neighbouring livestock farmers,” he said.
Mr Chambers said the message from Northern Ireland’s cereal growers is that they are now ‘open for business’ and are keen to develop all available markets for their grain and straw. 2016 FQACS Stickers have been issued, and new triplicate Farm Quality Assured Cereals Scheme Passports are being progressed and will be circulated to all current scheme members.
To maintain FQACS status this passport must accompany each consignment/load of cereal/straw to the ultimate buyer, miller or feeder displaying the current year’s sticker in the bottom right hand corner.