Spring barley winner announced

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union along with the sponsors of the UFU Spring Barley Cereal Competition, Joseph Morton LTD & Bayer Crop Science have again paid recognition to the first class growers here in Northern Ireland.

This year a prestigious first place was awarded to Richard Kane, of the UFU North West Derry group, with his quality crop of Propino variety spring barley topping the judges score sheets.

Securing a close second place was John Scott from the UFU North Tyrone group with his field of Overture variety spring barley. A respectable third place was then awarded to John Todd from the UFU North East Armagh group with his crop of Kelim variety spring barley.

Mr Kane enters the competition every year and was pleased to have received news that this year he had been awarded first place.

Commenting on this year’s growing season, he said: “Poor weather conditions presented extra challenges this year. My crop was sown at the beginning of April, however, heavy rainfall in May made for poor growing conditions. This in turn heightened disease pressure but with tight controls in place the threat of crop disease was managed well.”

Richard began harvesting his crop earlier this week and hopes that there is a good potential for yield of approximately three tonnes per acre.

On behalf of all the judges, Ethel White (AFBI) said: “We wish to congratulate all those growers who made it to the final of this year’s UFU spring barley competition.

“In all 14 crops were judged in five counties across Northern Ireland. The quality of crops across the board was very impressive with good growth indicating that yield potential is high. However the judges were concerned at the number of crops in which wild oats were found. 

“Unfavourable cold and wet weather conditions during the growing season presented challenges for many growers this year.  However robust fungicide and herbicide programmes meant foliar diseases and weeds were kept at bay.” 

UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson praised the efforts of farmers who had produced excellent crops, noting that the spring barley competition had been closely fought between the top growers in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ferguson said: “The standard of entries was once again exceptionally high and all finalists deserve recognition for the high quality crop they produce.

“I would like to thank sponsors Joseph Morton LTD and Bayer Crop Science for their support of the UFU cereals competition also to the UFU members and group office teams who made the competition possible.”