UFU celebrates top silage growers of 2017

Dairy: Pictured, back row, from left; Gordon Donaldson, John Thompson & Sons, David McClure, South Antrim UFU Group, Stacey Cherry, South Londonderry UFU Group, Brian Prue, North West Derry UFU Group, Martin Reel, CAFRE Judge. Front row, from left; Barclay Bell, UFU President, Alan Wallace, David Wallace, John McCollum and Noel McGrath, Ecosyl (Volac International).
Dairy: Pictured, back row, from left; Gordon Donaldson, John Thompson & Sons, David McClure, South Antrim UFU Group, Stacey Cherry, South Londonderry UFU Group, Brian Prue, North West Derry UFU Group, Martin Reel, CAFRE Judge. Front row, from left; Barclay Bell, UFU President, Alan Wallace, David Wallace, John McCollum and Noel McGrath, Ecosyl (Volac International).

This week the Ulster Farmers’ Union recognised Northern Ireland’s top silage growers of 2017 as the UFU and sponsors Ecosyl Products Ltd and John Thompson & Sons hosted their Annual Silage Competition awards ceremony in the Hilton hotel, Templepatrick.

David and Alan Wallace of the South Antrim Group (Dairy), Roger and Hilary Bell of the Ballyclare Group (Beef and Sheep) and William Henderson of the East Tyrone Group (Alternative Forage) took top honours in the competition which saw a record number of entries from farmers in each of the UFU’s twenty-five groups.

Beef and Sheep: Pictured, back row, from left; Joyce McConnell, Ballyclare UFU Group, Fiona Patterson, Mid-down UFU Group, Jonathan McCaughan, John Thompson & Sons, Sarah McClements, Angela Steele, Ards UFU Group. Front row, from left; Thomas McKelvey, Hilary Bell, Roger Bell and Andrew McClements

Beef and Sheep: Pictured, back row, from left; Joyce McConnell, Ballyclare UFU Group, Fiona Patterson, Mid-down UFU Group, Jonathan McCaughan, John Thompson & Sons, Sarah McClements, Angela Steele, Ards UFU Group. Front row, from left; Thomas McKelvey, Hilary Bell, Roger Bell and Andrew McClements

This year saw the launch of the Newcomer award which was given out at group level to the best silage of those that are new to the competition in the last three years. There was a great response to this award with over 33 entries.

UFU President Barclay Bell said: “The UFU’s annual silage competition has always encouraged excellence and healthy competition among producers and once again, even through a difficult year for silage production the competition entries were to the highest standard. Our sponsors, CAFRE, UFU Group Managers and most importantly the farmers have worked hard on ensuring we had a great competition and I would like to thank them all.”

Speaking on behalf of the sponsors Ecosyl Products Ltd and John Thompson & Sons Noel McGrath said: “We saw some exceptional silage from farmers in each of the categories. Good forage is crucial for our industry and the winners can be rightly proud of their efforts. We are delighted to be sponsoring such a progressive event.”

Competition judge Martin Reel, from CAFRE, stated: “It was really positive to see the enthusiasm and confidence on each farm that we visited. The attention to detail on the farms was very impressive and despite weather difficulties, the winning farmers have excelled.”

Alternative Forage: Pictured, back row from left, are Stacey Cherry, South Londonderry UFU Group, Elaine Hutchinson, Gillian Henderson, Noel McGrath, Ecosyl (Volac International), Judith Hamilton, East Tyrone UFU Group, Angela Steele, Ards UFU Group. Front, from left; Jonny Hutchinson, William Henderson and Roger McCracken.

Alternative Forage: Pictured, back row from left, are Stacey Cherry, South Londonderry UFU Group, Elaine Hutchinson, Gillian Henderson, Noel McGrath, Ecosyl (Volac International), Judith Hamilton, East Tyrone UFU Group, Angela Steele, Ards UFU Group. Front, from left; Jonny Hutchinson, William Henderson and Roger McCracken.

The full list of winners is:

Dairy: 1st David & Alan Wallace, South Antrim Group; 2nd John McCollum, North West Derry Group; 3rd William Sterling, South Londonderry Group

Beef & Sheep: 1st Roger and Hilary Bell, Ballyclare Group; 2nd McKelvey Brothers, Mid Down Group; 3rd Andrew McClements, Ards Group

Alternative Forage: 1st William Henderson, East Tyrone Group; 2nd Jonny Hutchinson, South Londonderry Group; 3rd Roger McCracken, Ards Group.