Antrim and Tyrone produce top silage growers

Thursday, 7 March, 2013

Counties Antrim and Tyrone have produced the best silage growers in Northern Ireland.  David McKeeman from Ballymoney (Maize), George and Alan Armstrong from Omagh (Beef & Sheep) and Denis and Mark Blelock from Aldergrove (Dairy) have been honoured as the top growers in the 21st annual Ulster Farmers’ Union Silage Competition, sponsored by Ecosyl and John Thompson and Sons.  

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “It is a fantastic achievement for these farmers to come out on top in our silage competitions, which attract hundreds of entries each year from farms in each of the UFU’s twenty-five groups.  The winners can be justly proud of their efforts.  These are extremely well run farm businesses which take great pride in the forage which they produce and this has, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of our farming industry in Northern Ireland”. 

Speaking on behalf of sponsors Ecosyl and John Thompson and Sons, Derek Nelson said; “We are proud to be associated with the silage competition as forage quality has a huge impact on the success and profitability of many farms in Northern Ireland.  Congratulations to all the winners demonstrating fantastic silage can be made even in a very difficult year”.   
Competition judge Ann Brown from CAFRE stated; “The winning farmers’ focus on silage quality, effluent control and farm safety was excellent.  To say the least 2012 was a very difficult season but there were some windows of opportunity for good quality first cut silage to be harvested and the winning entries were as ever of a very high standard.  Last year was the coldest year since 1986 and combined with heavy rainfall in many regions, this made it a very difficult year, particularly for maize growers.  Nevertheless it was a pleasure to visit so many excellent and positive farm businesses”.
The full list of winners is:

Dairy class 

1st        Denis and Mark Blelock, Aldergrove, UFU South Antrim Group
2nd       Jim and James Bamford, Rasharkin, UFU North East Derry Group
3rd       George and Alastair Forsythe, Cloughmills, UFU Mid Antrim Group 

Beef & Sheep
1st        George and Alan Armstrong, Omagh, UFU Mid Tyrone Group
2nd       Joe and Ellen McCarragher, Armagh, UFU North West Armagh Group
3rd        Antrim Estates, Glenarm, UFU Larne Group

Maize Class
1st    David McKeeman, Ballymoney, UFU North Antrim Group
2nd    Bill and Neil Thompson, Carrowdore, UFU Ards Group
3rd     James and Jo Watt, Templepatrick, UFU South Antrim Group