The Ulster Farmers’ Union along with the spring barley competition sponsors Fane Valley and Bayer, have once again paid tribute to the first-class growers here in Northern Ireland.
This year a prestigious first place was awarded to the Hessin brothers, Harold, Stephen, David and Wilbert of the UFU South Londonderry Group, with their high-quality crop of spring barley which topped the judge’s score sheets.
Securing a close second place was Leslie and Irene Dunn from the UFU North Tyrone Group and scooping up a respectable third place was David and Ian Gault, from the North West Derry Group.
Commenting on winning this year’s competition Mr W. Hessin said: “This is a real achievement for us to have won the UFU spring barley competition with our field of ‘Laureate’ barley. While growing conditions were very good, the breaks in the weather made achieving the correct spraying intervals more challenging. The yield potential of this field is super and we are looking forward to harvesting a good crop.”
Speaking on behalf of the spring barley judges, Dr. Lisa Black from AFBI Crossnacreevy said: “There was a large number of fields to judge in the spring barley competition. All fields were good examples of crop husbandry with high yield potential in some. The recent rain had caused some patches of high yielding crops to go down, with lower yielding crops showing better resistance to lodging. Generally, levels of disease and weed control were good. Some fields had minimal disease which indicated robust fungicide regimes. In the crops where disease levels were higher, growers had perhaps balanced acceptable levels of diseases with the cost of inputs. Mildew, Rhynchosporium, net blotch and Ramularia, were evident in most crops to some degree. The most common weeds encountered were Poa annua and wild oats. Uniformity was generally good with only a small handful of fields having green/immature tillers. In general, there should be some good yields from these finalist’s fields.”
UFU deputy president David Brown said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to all finalists and thank everyone who entered this year’s competition. The UFU cereals competition recognises the talent of cereal growers in Northern Ireland. I would like to thank sponsors Fane Valley and Bayer, for their support of the UFU cereals competition and also extend thanks to our UFU members and group office teams who made the competition possible.”
The awards for the winter barley, oats, winter wheat and spring barley cereal competition categories will be officially presented at the 2019 UFU and sponsors cereals competition awards and lunch, planned for later this year.