The Deering family from Co Laois has claimed the top prize at this year’s Tirlán grain quality awards held in Portlaoise on 20 February.

John and Ann Deering farm with their son Mark just outside Emo, Co Laois, and won the award for their high-quality food-grade oats.

A total of 14 growers were recognised out of Tirlán’s 1,100 grain suppliers at the awards ceremony and the Deerings were singled out for their attention to detail in growing top-quality grains.

The Deerings' oats came in with a KPH of 57.8 and moisture content of 17.6% across 214t. Their Tirlán agronomist is Tim Scott. He assists with advice on the range of crops on the farm, which include oilseed rape, beans, oats, wheat and barley.

Sustainability award

Head of grains at Tirlán John Kealy commented on new research published at the awards on the life cycle analysis of Irish grain with Teagasc.

The data showed the gross carbon footprint of Tirlán oats was 207kg CO2e/t.

He said the results “are a strong endorsement of the sector’s sustainability credentials and highlight the important role of Irish grains within the agricultural sector and along the value chain”.

A new sustainability award was also presented.

“Today’s winner of the sustainability award, Mark Sheridan from Navan, Co Meath, had three crops in the top five of the lowest carbon footprint results from the study.

"He adopted widespread use of straw incorporation and his winter oats were carbon neutral. It was an exceptional performance amid some really high standards and a sign of the quality of our Irish grain,” Kealy remarked.


"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."

Co-op chair John Murphy said that Tirlán doubled its gluten-free oats intake in 2023.

“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.

"Our new Avonmore oat drinks are performing very well in Ireland and the Asian market and we recently launched a new Truly Oat beverage range into the US market,” Murphy said.

The full list of Tirlán grain award winners is as follows:

  • Winter (Cassia) feed barley: John and Ray Kavanagh, Athy, Co Kildare.
  • Malting barley: R&R Farms, Mogeely, Co Cork.
  • Green feed barley: John Fenlon, Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny.
  • Premium spring barley: John Miller, Athy, Co Kildare.
  • Dried feed barley: B&N Madden, Dunsany, Co Meath.
  • Seed barley: Kathleen and James Maher, Johnstown, Co Kilkenny.
  • Green feed wheat: David O’Dwyer, Newbawn, Co Wexford.
  • Dried feed wheat: Michael Carey, Newcastle, Co Wicklow.
  • Seed wheat: Ballingale Farms Ltd, Ferns, Co Wexford.
  • Food grade oats: John Deering, Emo, Co Laois.
  • Green feed oats: Grangenolvin Farm Partnership, Athy, Co Kildare.
  • Green feed beans: NBCB Farms, Maddockstown, Co Kilkenny.
  • Green oilseed rape: P. O’Connell Farms, Ballybrittas, Co Laois.
  • Sustainability award: J&C Sheridan Ltd, Navan, Co Meath.
  • Overall award: John, Ann and Mark Deering, Emo, Co Laois.