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The move by Irish Distillers to formally recognise the high environmental standards of green spring barley growers is a welcome development, according to IFA National Grain Chairman, Mark Browne.

He was speaking at the launch of the new ‘Green Spring Barley Scheme’ at Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork this morning. IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe attended the launch.

“IFA has engaged in constructive discussions with Irish Distillers in recent months. These centred on the need to support farmers who provide the green spring barley, which is used in whiskeys such as Jameson, Powers, Redbreast and Midleton Very Rare.”

“The quality of this barley is exceptional. Achieving this requires significant additional care and costs, which are borne by the farmer. The scheme announced today recognises the role that farmers play in the sustainable production of one of our most valuable agri-food exports.”

 

According to figures released by Bord Bia Irish drinks exports have increased by 8% to €1.45 billion in 2019, with over 50% of the growth coming from Irish whiskey. “The primary producer must share in this success and the ‘Green Spring Barley Scheme’ initiative is a positive development in this regard,” Mark Browne said.

There will be an additional payment of €15 per/tonne associated with the scheme payable directly to those growers who meet the environmental and sustainability requirements outlined in the scheme.

The Green Spring Barley Scheme will help reduce the carbon footprint and promote biodiversity on farms. As part of the programme, in year one farmers will also participate in a survey with a view to collating data and identifying further measures to achieve these objectives.

Conor McQuaid, chief executive of Irish Distillers said, “Our approach to sustainability is holistic and centres on the grain to glass journey. We value the quality Irish barley used to make our whiskeys and place a particular emphasis on sourcing, certification and traceability. For this reason, from 2020, we have decided to introduce a tailored sustainability programme for these growers which will support tillage farmers in delivering further environmental benefits on their farms”.

IFA is holding a grain seminar next Tuesday, 10th March at City North Hotel, Gormanstown, Dublin starting at 8pm.

The agenda for the night includes:

IFA tillage policy update – Mark Browne, IFA National Grain Chairman

Grain markets outlook – Pat Farrell, IFA Grain Executive

Grass weeds in cereals (control and identification) – Jimmy Staples, Teagasc

Seed availability and crop choices this Spring – Brendan Reilly, Drummonds

Domestic Market

Many parts of the country have received twice their annual rainfall amounts for February. At this stage there will not be an early Spring and this has increased the demand for animal feed. This has had a positive effect for the price of barley with signs of upward movement in recent days. There was a gap of up to €30/t between the spot price of barley and wheat but not surprisingly this has narrowed as barley buys back demand in feed rations as the cheaper option.

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The IFA and Irish Farmers Journal are to co-host a regional Grain meeting in the Horse and Jockey on Tuesday the 18th of February at 8:00 p.m. IFA’s Pat Farrell, Grain Executive will give a detailed presentation on markets and home and on the international front.

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IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne said the next Government has to fight for an increased CAP budget to take account of inflation and to compensate farmers for any additional requirements placed on them as a result of this CAP reform.

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