UFU recognises top silage growers of 2016

Wednesday, 15 March, 2017

This week the Ulster Farmers’ Union paid recognised Northern Ireland’s top silage growers of 2016 as the UFU and Sponsors Ecosyl Products Ltd and John Thompson & Sons hosted their Annual Silage Competition awards ceremony in the Hilton hotel, Templepatrick.

Henry Thompson & Sons of the West Antrim Group (Dairy), Roger & Hilary Bell of the Ballyclare Group (Beef and Sheep) and David Wallace of the South Antrim Group (Alternative Forage) took top honours in the competition which saw a record number of entries from farmers in each of the UFU’s twenty-five groups.

UFU Deputy President Ivor Ferguson said; “The UFU’s annual silage competition has always encouraged excellence and healthy competition among producers and once again, the competition entries were to the highest standard.  Our sponsors, CAFRE, UFU Group Managers and most importantly the farmers have worked hard on ensuring we had a great competition and I would like to thank them all for the positive way in which they participated.”

Speaking on behalf of the sponsors Ecosyl Products Ltd and John Thompson & Sons Derek Nelson said; “We saw some exceptional silage from farmers in each of the categories.  Good forage is crucial for our industry and the winners can be rightly proud of their efforts.  We are delighted to be sponsoring such a progressive event.”

Competition judge Alistair Boyle from CAFRE stated; “It was really positive to see the enthusiasm and confidence on each farm which we visited and notably the number of young farmers making decisions and driving their businesses forward. The attention to detail on the farms was very impressive and despite weather difficulties, the winning farmers have excelled”.

The full list of winners is:


1st Henry Thomspon & Sons, Randalstown

2nd John Blair, Larne

3rd Watson Spence, Waringstown


Dairy Winners: The UFU would like to congratulate this year’s winners in the dairy category. Henry Thompson & Sons of West Antrim Group claimed first prize, with John Blair of the Larne Group receiving second place and Watson Spence of North East Armagh took a respectable third place.  UFU would like to extend its congratulations to all this year’s winners and thank all those who entered the competition.

Beef & Sheep

1st Roger and Hilary Bell, Kells

2nd McKelvey Brothers, Hillsborough

3rd Matthew Harrison, Portadown

Beef and Sheep Winners: Roger and Hilary Bell of Ballyclare Group took home first prize in the beef and sheep category this year, with McKelvey Brothers of the Mid Down Group receiving second prize. Third place was awarded to Thomas and Matthew Harrison of the North East Armagh Group. The UFU would like to thank the sponsors, group managers, CAFRE and members for being a part of this UFU Annual Silage Competition.  

Alternative Forage

1st David Wallace, Carmavey

2nd Smiddie Hill Farm, Newtownards

3rd Robert McAuley, Rathfriland

Alternative Forage: The overall winner in the alternative forage category was David and Alan Wallace of the South Antrim Group. UFU would like to extend its congratulations to David and Alan on winning first place.  Pictured left to right is: Janice Mc Master, Mid Down UFU Group, David McClure, South Antrim UFU Group, Smiddie Hill Farm, Angela Steel Mid Down UFU Group and Noel McGrath, Ecosyl (Volac International, sponsor).