An increasing demand for gluten-free products has led Glanbia to increase the level of gluten-free oats it is assembling.

Glanbia Ireland is encouraging anyone interested in growing the crop to contact a member of its agronomy team at the National Ploughing Championships.

Speaking on the decision to double the area of the crop being grown for the company John Kealy – head of grains at Glanbia Ireland – stated: “Gluten-free oats is a premium grain and delivers better opportunities for farmers.

We plan to double the acreage, albeit off of a small base, to keep pace with growing demands for gluten-free produce.

Farmers who grow the crop gain many benefits. Glanbia harvests and transports the grain to ensure that no contamination occurs. According to Glanbia, the crop also attracts a premium of €40/t over the green wheat price.

The seed for the crop must be purchased through Glanbia to meet food-grade gluten-free specifications.

Expanding the growing region

As well as increasing the acreage sown, Glanbia is also expanding the growing region. The crop was previously grown in counties Laois, Kildare and Carlow. However, farms meeting the criteria outside of this area will now be considered.

Glanbia Ireland’s grain quality operations manager Mariea O’Toole commented: “We are looking for farmers with suitable rotations on their land to suit this crop, which has to be sown either after a non-cereal break crop or grass.

There are specific requirements that a potential grower’s land has to meet before it would be considered suitable to sow this crop, such as having low levels of wild oats or invasive brome.

“There are other factors that have to be taken into account such as farm size and field access, as dedicated gluten-free machinery would have to be brought to the area for harvest.”

Anyone interested in growing the crop should visit a member of the Glanbia Ireland agronomy team at the National Ploughing Championships. The stand is located at – Block 2; Row 5; Stand 114.