Waterford tillage farmer Charles Keane from Cappoquinn Estate is this year's Flahavan's conventional oat grower of the year.

Keane was one of the first Irish growers to introduce tramlines to Irish cereal growing in the 1980s.

Farm manager John Collins has also looked after the tillage operations on the estate since the 1980s and is recognised as a leader in the industry, according to Flahavan's.

Flahavan's added that Collins gives great attention to protecting the environment through building hedgerows and using buffer zones, as well as planting native tree species on nearby land.


“We are delighted with our success in this competition. We value our contract for oats with Flahavan’s, with whom we have had a longstanding relationship," said Charles Keane on winning the award.

Pádraig Connery from Villierstown, Cappoquin, was runner-up in this category.

Connery grows a range of crops, including winter oats, winter wheat, winter and spring barley and spring beans.

Flahavan's said that Connery uses soil tests regularly to decide his nutrition and fertiliser programmes and uses pig and cattle slurry to cut down on chemical fertilisers. Pádraig is a participant in the Irish Farmers Journal's Footprint Farmers Programme.

Organic oats category

The overall winner in the organic oats category was Evan Delaney, who has been farming tillage crops plus a small area for livestock around the house with his family at Red City, Fethard, Co Tipperary.

He has an organic feed business in conjunction with his organic cropping programme.

Flahavan's described the Tipperary man as very knowledgeable on organic growing technology and whom is keen to explore the market potential for organic crops.

Eoghan O’Sullivan from Roseville, Donohill, Tipperary town, was named runner-up in the organic oats category.

Eoghan, who is relatively new in tillage, was praised by the judge for his simple system that produces quality oats which are delivered to Flahavan’s directly from the harvester.

Top-quality oats

Agronomist and cereals specialist Jim O’Mahony, who acted as independent judge for the competition, said that all shortlisted growers and winners in both categories produced top-quality oats grown with due consideration for the environment.

Both conventional and organic growers were assessed on the basis of overall grain quality, taking into account kernel content, bushel weight, moisture levels, aroma, flavour, colour and cleanliness.

The finalists were assessed on the basis of grower excellence, which included cereal knowledge, farm practice and technique, as well as environmental sustainability, with an overall winner selected from each group.

Difficult year

Operations manager at Flahavan’s Johnny Flahavan said: "While 2023 has been a difficult year for growers across the country, the standard of oats supplied to Flahavan’s is consistently excellent and we’re particularly delighted to see that so many of our suppliers are introducing more and more environmentally sustainable practices into their farming."