With a generally good harvest in the rearview mirror, it is good to hear of an increasing demand for a premium crop like gluten-free oats for 2023.

Tirlán, formerly Glanbia, is looking to expand its area of gluten-free for production for 2023.

The area sown to this crop is being controlled annually to help cope with a variable market requirement. Now, with the harvest just completed, the co-op is being given the option to produce an additional 1,000 acres of gluten-free oats.

This is good news for grain growers in the general catchment, as there is a geographical requirement on field location due to requirements for inspection, rogueing and harvesting.

Site selection

Place in rotation is an important issue to help ensure that plants which contain gluten will not be growing in the selected fields. Fields contracted to grow gluten-free oats must follow either a non-cereal break crop or grass.

Selected fields must also be free of wild oats and brome grasses. Wild oats are an issue because they cannot be controlled in the crop and bromes contain gluten and so must be avoided.

While many growers may have an interest in producing this crop, the fields and farmers chosen for contracts must be located in counties that have favourable geography for inspection, harvesting and delivery.

For these reasons, all offers from growers will need to be inspected in advance of being selected.

About 1,000 acres

Tirlán estimates it will require an additional 1,000 acres of contracts to supply its new requirement, which can be a combination of winter- and spring-sown crops.

The contract price is based on a €30/t premium over wheat, with harvesting and transport paid for by the co-op to help ensure the purity of the oats.

The certified seed for these crops most be purchased from the co-op, as the seed is also grown to gluten-free standards to help minimise the risk of carrying contaminants into the commercial crop. Variety options include Isabel and Husky, with Barra being discontinued as and from this year.

Any new grower interested in taking on a contract, or someone wishing to expand their current area, should contact their local Tirlán representative.