Ovens man is the Dairygold Malting Barley Grower of the Year

Jeremiah Dineen claimed the Dairygold Malting Barley Grower of the Year Award for 2019. The announcement was made at today’s (Friday, January 24) Dairygold Tillage Conference at Corrin Event Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

Jeremiah hails from Ovens Valley and farms with his wife Patricia along the Bride river west of Cork city. His land is made up of free-draining soil – ideal for spring malting barley – and is suitable for early sowing. This makes for suitable conditions to achieve the optimum protein content.

Jeremiah Dineen was this year’s Dairygold Malting Barley Grower of the Year. Image source: O’Gorman Photography

Jeremiah follows a strict rotation on his farm, which includes the following crops: oilseed rape; winter wheat; winter barley and spring barley.

While the quality of the grower’s malting barley formed a significant part of the decision process, the winner also had to perform well in other important areas.

“Consistently producing excellent quality grain and prioritising the environment by protecting water quality and embracing biodiversity has earned Jermiah the prestigious title,” a spokesperson from the judging panel said.

Farm visits were carried out by Jim O’Mahony, a crops and horticulture specialist, and Ciara Donovan, Farm Sustainability advisor at Dairygold.

What makes a winner?

The judges examined crop records, as well as environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices on each farm.

“His attention to detail is obvious and commendable. His planning, technical and machinery expertise as well as record keeping is very impressive. His wealth of experience and knowledge of tillage and malting industries has stood by him in this year’s competition,” explained Jim.

Jeremiah plants cover crops on ground destined for spring crops over the winter period. He also has wild bird cover on some of the more difficult areas of ground.

“He has embraced environmental schemes and has developed an impressive knowledge of catch crops and conservation tillage techniques,” Ciara noted.

Located on the banks of the Bride, water protection was embraced. Biodiversity was encouraged particularly by excellent hedgerow management throughout the farm.

“In addition, his balance as regards taking care of the environment confirms our view that he is the overall winner of the 2019 Dairygold malting barley competition – he excelled in all scores,” Ciara added.

Commenting on the competition, Dairygold tillage and beef business manager Liam Leahy said that it is a great opportunity to showcase the standard of grain produced by the co-operative’s growers.

“The diversity of the contestants was impressive – varying from large specialist tillage farmers to relatively small mixed livestock-tillage farms. All were committed to excellence.

“The traceability and authenticity of Dairygold’s malting barley augers well for the future sustainability of the product,” he concluded.

Two growers were picked from each of four regions, bringing the total number of finalists to eight.

The eight finalists were:
  • Michael Walsh;
  • Thomas Dwyer;
  • Richard Lucey;
  • Michael Archdeacon;
  • John Hurley;
  • Nigel O’Keeffe;
  • Jeremiah Dineen;
  • James Pope.