Jonny Greene and his son, Harry Greene, Glanbia Ireland Grain Quality Operations Manager, Mariea O’Toole, and Glanbia Ireland Crop Inspector, Tom Pollard. Photo Finbarr O’Rourke
The area of gluten free oats sown by Glanbia Ireland’s grain farmers doubled in 2020 compared to 2019 and the company is looking for more growers of the crop.
Glanbia Ireland operates a “closed-loop” supply chain in production of gluten-free oats (GFO). It is the only certified supplier of gluten-free oats in Ireland, with 75 dedicated growers and a unique supply chain.
Recent rain, followed by a warm spell, all mean it is looking like being a good harvest at this stage of crop development, according to Glanbia Ireland’s Grain Development and Sales Manager, Donal Moloney.
“The GFO contract currently pays a premium of €40/tonne over base wheat price and Glanbia Ireland harvests and transports the crop from field to drying location. Growers can forward sell gluten-free oats throughout the growing season at the prevailing green wheat price.
“Glanbia Ireland moved its food grade oats drying and storage operation to a new state-of-the art facility at Harris Grain, Athy in 2020. We’re particularly looking for growers within a 50km radius of this facility.
“The crop must be sown after a non-cereal break crop or grass to ensure minimal contamination from other cereals,” he added.
Agronomic advice for gluten-free oats crops is provided by the Glanbia Ireland agronomy team. Crops are thoroughly inspected at ear emergence stage to check for contamination by other cereals, wild oats, brome, etc and the application of glyphosate pre-harvest is not permitted.
Glanbia Ireland Chief Agribusiness Growth Officer, Sean Molloy, said: “Over 2,100 acres of gluten-free oats were sown in 2021, less than 2020 levels. But with a much different configuration of winter versus spring this year, Glanbia Ireland expects to get similar tonnage at harvest to 2020.
“Gluten-free oats is an excellent break crop and improves a grower’s rotation, as well as being profitable in its own right. Slightly lower inputs are required compared to wheat and barley and Irish oats in particular have a significantly lower carbon footprint than oats grown in the rest of Europe, much of this down to higher yields in Irish soils,” he added.
Jonny Greene is a fourth generation farmer at Levistown House in Meganey, Co, Kildare. “I’ve about 150 acres under gluten-free oats this year, up from 130 last year. I’ve steadily increased it over the years. I’m always looking for premium markets and this crop suits my rotation pattern. The fact that it’s a low input crop also helps,” he said.
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