group of winners at tirlán grain awards

Champion Oat Growers takes home the overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award for 2023

Champion oats growers, John and Ann Deering and their son, Mark, have won the coveted overall Tirlán Quality Grain Award for 2023 and have been singled out for their exceptional attention to detail in growing top quality grains on the family farm. 

The Deering family, from Morette near Emo in County Laois, also won the individual Food Grade Oats award for harvest 2023. The champion growers were among 14 top suppliers commended at the highly-competitive Tirlán Quality Grain Awards for 2023 ceremony that took place on February 20th 2024 in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

A delighted John Deering said: “We were honoured to come here today to receive the Food Grade Oats award. But to win the Overall Award for 2023 is a huge boost, particularly when last year was such a tough one for growers.”

Son, Mark Deering, added: “We focus on doing the little things well and are very thankful to our agronomist, Tim Scott, for his help throughout the year. It’s lovely to be recognised for the work we do as a family to produce a range of quality crops in a sustainable way. We’re thrilled to be going home with two wins. It makes the hard work very worthwhile, and we will enjoy celebrating these wins.”

Crops on the Deering family farm are established mainly by min till and organic manures are used on some of the land. Attention to detail is a hallmark of their success in growing quality grains.  The winning crop was gluten-free oats and had an average specific weight of 57.8 kph at 17.6% moisture across 214 tonnes.

Addressing the Awards, Martin Heydon T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development, commended the award-winning growers on their dedication to delivering the highest quality grain, while also farming sustainably.

"I congratulate today's 14 champion growers on their quality produce and commend Tirlán for its continued investment in research and development at its Innovation Centre in Ballyragget which I've visited previously and at its high-spec Oat Mill here in Portlaoise. 

"In what was a difficult year for weather conditions, Tirlán's growers produced top quality grains on farms across this catchment, as showcased here today. They take immense pride in what they do, how they farm, how they nurture and respect the land. This dedication, passion and commitment to sustainability is what sets Irish grains apart, as evidenced by the research work unveiled here today. We continue to strive to find new markets and add value to this quality Irish produce."

John Murphy, Tirlán Chairperson, said “The commitment to quality and passion shown by the award-winning growers, coupled with the sustainability credentials of the crops, bodes well for the future of Irish grain.   

“As the largest buyer and user of premium Irish grains, Tirlán is investing in the future of Irish grain. Tirlán paid our growers almost €3 million in additional bonuses last year, specifically for premium grains.  And in spite of the exceptionally challenging weather, we doubled our gluten-free oats intake last year.

“We’ve built strong capabilities in our Oat Mill in Portlaoise and in R&D with a view to maximising returns for our farm families. We continue to expand our plant-based offerings and we’re evolving our portfolio to meet growing global demand in key markets such as North America, Europe, and Asia where demand for sustainably produced fully traceable product made from quality Irish grains continues to grow. 

“As plans for harvest 2024 continue, we remain committed to facilitating sustainable growth in the grain sector, in line with Government ambitions. Our grains team are out working with our valued growers, assessing, and harnessing regenerative agriculture practices on farms and continuously improving the sustainability credentials of the premium portfolio.”