Top prize at the 2018 Irish Malting Barley Excellence Awards, held at the Guinness Storehouse today, has gone to Padraig Kehoe from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

His malting barley crop took first place at the event which aims to acknowledge excellence in malting barley production and promote sustainability in the supply chain.

The awards are organised by Boortmalt, and hosted by Diageo, the largest purchaser of malting barley in Ireland.

Key speaker at the event was deputy Pat Deering, chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who presented the Guinness Perpetual Cup for Malting Barley Excellence to Padraig Kehoe.

The Cup has been awarded annually to barley growers in Ireland since 1954.

There are over 900 barley growers in Ireland and the Malting Barley Excellence awards claim to bring together the best growers from the main barley supply regions of Ireland while also recognising the best seed producers.

The winners across the supply regions are as follows:
  • New Ross / Tintern: Mark McCaughley, Dunbrody, Campile, New Ross, Co. Wexford;
  • Cooladine, Enniscorthy: Padraig Kehoe, Garrymile, The Ballagh, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford;
  •  Ballycarney, Enniscorthy: Alan Mooney, Gurrawn, Rathnure, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford;
  • Athy, Kildare: Charles Chambers, Pill Farm, Moone, Athy, Co. Kildare;
  • Stradbally, Laois: Richard & Raymond Carter, Timogue, Stradbally, Co. Laois;
  • Carlow – Daltons: Michael Byrne, Leaugh Road, Carlow.

Francis Kehoe from Lacken, New Ross, Co. Carlow, took home the first prize for seed growing.

Commenting on the awards, Deering said: “The growth of the drinks sector is entirely dependent on a supply of high-quality malting barley.

“In this respect, Irish cereal farmers have made a huge contribution to the success of the sector by producing the raw ingredients needed to develop the industry.

“Today is an opportunity to acknowledge the technical know-how and dedication of our malting barley growers.”

Image source: Naoise Culhane

Commenting on his win, Padraig Kehoe, said: “It’s a great honour to win this title. I am looking forward to bringing the Guinness Perpetual Cup to Wexford, knowing that I join the list of talented and skilled barley growers who have held it since 1954.

“My winning formula for quality malting barley is to sow early if the conditions are right, and if not, be patient.”