Despite having experienced an extremely challenging number of years, there was renewed optimism in the Donegal tillage sector last week as it emerged that Boortmalt, Ireland's largest malting company is in talks with businesses in the area to develop a malting barley growers base in the northwest.

The Irish Farmers Journal has learned that the initiative is being led by local agri-chemical merchant AgriCare, with the support of Boortmalt.

The intention is to develop a base of malting barley growers in the county to serve local brewing and distilling businesses in the region, a representative from the merchant stated.


It is believed up to 500t worth of contracts will be offered to growers which will be coordinated through AgriCare, owned by Jim Devenney, father of Jason and Gareth Devenney, who developed the farm computer software package Farmflo.

In year one of the endeavour, barley will be tested by AgriCare on each grower’s farmyard before delivery to Athy. The merchant will also be providing ongoing agronomy advice.

A meeting takes place next Thursday, 8 March, at 7:30pm in the An Grianan Hotel, Burt, Co Donegal, where representatives from all parties involved will meet with potential growers.


Malting or distilling barley has not been grown in the county in recent decades so the news was welcomed by growers in the region.

However, with the ever increasing weather risk posed to tillage farmers in the northwest as well as stronger feed grain prices, some growers have stated they need clarity on a number of contractual issues which have been the bone of contention to growers in the south before entering into a contract.

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