The Ulster Farmers’ Union along with competition sponsors Origin NI and BASF Ireland have crowned James Wray from the UFU North West Derry Group first place in the UFU Winter Oats Cereal Competition category, with his winning field of Mascani impressing judges.
A highly regarded second place was awarded to Richard and Victor Hunniford of the UFU North East Armagh Group and coming in a very close third place was James Gray from the UFU Ballyclare Group.
Commenting on his win this year James Wray said: “This is my fourth year entering the competition and I am delighted to have won the oats category. The crop was sown around mid-September and I hope to begin harvesting in the coming week, weather permitting. Although a poor spring hindered the start of the growing season the yield potential is looking good with straw yield shaping up to be greater than ever.”
James added: “Securing a contract to supply the oats to White’s Speedicook has been particularly beneficial this year with Raymond Hellman dedicating a great deal of time to ensuring careful care and attention was paid to the crops spraying programme. While disease pressure was no worse than any other year, having a robust spray program in place certainly meant the threat of disease was kept at bay.”
The judging team for the winter oats category this year included: Charles Kilpatrick (DARD), Lisa Black (AFBI) and Gerald Erwin, a local grower who took part in this year’s judging on behalf of the competition sponsors.
Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Lisa Black (AFBI) said: “We would like to congratulate all growers for reaching the final of this year’s UFU cereals competition. Once again there was an impressive range of entries with a broad range of winter oat varieties grown across the board. Although a poor spring lead to complications during the growing season yield potential looks to be high with many farmers beginning harvesting in the coming weeks. Judges were concerned with wild oats presenting an issue for some growers; however, robust spray programmes ensured that the threat of crop disease was greatly reduced.”
UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson added: “I would like to thank the sponsors for the winter oats category, Origin NI and BASF Ireland, who continue to enthusiastically support and promote our cereal competitions, the competition judges, our Group Managers who co-ordinate the local competitions, and the many UFU members who entered this year’s winter oats competition. There were a number of excellent crops grown this year, which I know made it very hard for the judges when selecting the winners.”
The awards ceremony for the winners of the winter barley, oats, winter wheat and spring barley cereal competition categories will be officially presented at the 2015 Seeds and Cereals Presentation lunch planned for later this year.