The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the production of farm quality assured grain benefits the Northern Ireland food chain because consumers can trace meat products right back to the food the animal ingested.
UFU seeds and cereals chairman David Matthews, says there is a demand from consumers to know where their meat comes from and farm quality assured grain provides important information that goes beyond the farm where the animal was reared.
“Local farm quality assured grain is beneficial to livestock farmers because the final meat product can be traced back to the bag of seed that developed into grain and was fed to the animal. This benefits us as arable farmers because we are producing trustworthy grain that is 100 per cent traceable and produced to the highest standards, enhancing the quality, value and taste of the final product. All of which are vital to ensure consumer confidence in the product they are purchasing. It also has a positive impact on the entire food chain in Northern Ireland and highlights the importance of farmers supporting each other in different commodities,” said Mr Matthews.
Oat harvest begins in a matter of weeks and the primary market is retail. Mr Matthews said, “Once grain harvest is finished oats will be the focus for many arable farmers. The oats will enter the supply chain for human consumption and will be used in products such as porridge. With a similar production process, oats just like our grain, delivers what the customer requires in terms of high-quality food standards. We need the Northern Ireland population to buy local produce and support farming families as much as farmers.”
To ensure the best grain and oats, growers have to protect their crop in a way that is environmentally friendly. Mr Matthews says: “Professional use of plant protection products support the production of high-quality safe grains for the food chain. They are used with caution and only when necessary. It’s important that a variety of choices are available to suit all regions, climates and soil conditions because farming grain in the North West of the country is much different to farming in the South East,” said the UFU seeds and cereals chairman.