3-year partnership announced between Teagasc and Boortmalt

Boortmalt has announced details of a three-year partnership with Teagasc with the ambition of making malting barley the most profitable cereal crop on the island and to further develop malting barley production for distilling in the south-east of Ireland.

The joint collaboration will see the appointment of a dedicated malting barley advisor, reporting to Teagasc, on a full-time basis covering the Boortmalt footprint from south Wexford to Laois.

Co-operation

The agreement, as reported previously by AgriLand during its development, “strengthens the existing knowledge transfer co-operation” between Teagasc and Boortmalt, according to the two sides.

Also Read: Tillage focus: Boortmalt looking for 50,000t of malting barley

Teagasc Knowledge Transfer (KT) has been working with Boortmalt for the last two years to deliver KT services such as technical bulletins to farmers, sharing of best practice in the growing of malting barley and gathering feedback from Boortmalt and farmers.

Boortmalt is the main assembler of malting barley in Ireland and plans to increase capacity to produce malt for brewing (beer) and distilling (whiskey) by up to 40,000t in the coming years.

Achieving the required grain specification for distilling malt (currently less than 9.3% protein) by farmers can be challenging – with field history, sowing date, variety, agronomy, and weather conditions in the year all influencing the final outcome.

Announcing the partnership, Peter Nallen, group chief operations officer at Boortmalt, said: “We are delighted to announce this unique partnership with Teagasc which is a first for malting barley growing in Ireland.

“As a company, Boortmalt is fully committed to working with our Irish supply chain partners (IFA) to build a 100% Irish sustainable business for our growers and our customers.

“Our enhanced partnership with Teagasc is another step in demonstrating our ongoing and unwavering commitment to the Irish malting barley industry as we fully believe that the specific and scientific expertise Teagasc brings will further improve our growers’ ability to consistently deliver malting barley in specification and also greatly improve their own profitability.”

‘Increased opportunity’

Speaking at the joint collaboration announcement director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle, said; “This collaboration was prompted by farmers on the ground as they are aware of the increased opportunity to deliver a premium product and also the challenges in achieving the required specifications.

L-R: Richard Kennedy, deputy president of the IFA; Peter Nallen, group chief operations officer at Boortmalt; and Prof. Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc

“A knowledge transfer crops advisor, specifically for malting barley, will work with the sector by utilising current information from independent research and translating this into practical actions and independent advice at a local farmer level.”

The knowledge transfer programme will support current staff in Teagasc and Boortmalt working with farmers in the industry.

The programme will work intensively with five farmers, on ‘Monitor Farms’, across the main malting barley production area in the south-east.

These farms will be used as a knowledge platform for other growers to visit and learn from over each season, according to the organisers.

Michael Hennessy, head of Crops Knowledge Transfer, said: “The programme of activities will be very visible for all malting barley growers with monitor farms, monitor crops, support for discussion groups and technical articles among the many activities planned.”

Goals

The programme has goals not only for Boortmalt in contribution to the delivery of malting barley; but also to delivering farmer profitability and sustainability.

Boortmalt has said that a number of ambitious targets have been set for the joint collaboration.

These include:
  • Growers achieving an equivalent or higher Gross Margin compared to Winter Wheat (based on Teagasc e-Profit Monitor results);
  • Increasing delivery of malting barley from contracted (sown) area;
  • Targeting information to non-discussion group farmers; and
  • Increasing the nutrient management planning on farm.

Tom Bryan, malting barley technical manager at Boortmalt, said: “Nutrient management is the key to higher yields and delivering the correct specification of malting barley; with this in mind Boortmalt are supporting soil sampling for all our malting barley farmers.

“All growers will be contacted to let them know how many discounted soil samples they can avail of through their local Teagasc office.”