Farmer in Oats field

Strong markets point to strong returns for Glanbia Gluten Free oat growers

09 June 2021
Agribusiness News

Glanbia Ireland expects to harvest similar quantities of Gluten Free Oats in 2021 compared to the previously expanded harvest of 2020. Strong Grain markets are currently underpinning very attractive opportunities for growers to forward sell a proportion of the crop and lock in a significant margin.

Glanbia Ireland operates a “closed-loop” supply chain in production of gluten-free oats (GFO). It is the only certified supplier of gluten-free oats in Ireland, with 75 dedicated growers and a unique supply chain.

Recent rain, followed by a warm spell, all mean it is looking like being a good harvest at this stage of crop development, according to Glanbia Ireland’s Grain Development and Sales Manager, Donal Moloney.

“The GFO contract currently pays a premium of €40/tonne over base wheat price and Glanbia Ireland harvests and transports the crop from field to drying location.  Growers can forward sell gluten-free oats throughout the growing season at the prevailing green wheat price.

“Glanbia Ireland moved its food grade oats drying and storage operation to a new state-of-the art facility at Harris Grain, Athy in 2020. The crop must be sown after a non-cereal break crop or grass to ensure minimal contamination from other cereals,” he added.

Agronomic advice for gluten-free oats crops is provided by the Glanbia Ireland agronomy team. Crops are thoroughly inspected at ear emergence stage to check for contamination by other cereals, wild oats, brome, etc and the application of glyphosate pre-harvest is not permitted.

Glanbia Ireland Chief Agribusiness Growth Officer, Sean Molloy, said: “Over 2,100 acres of gluten-free oats were sown in 2021, less than 2020 levels. But with a much different configuration of winter versus spring this year, Glanbia Ireland expects to get similar tonnage at harvest to 2020.

“Gluten-free oats is an excellent break crop and improves a grower’s rotation, as well as being profitable in its own right. Slightly lower inputs are required compared to wheat and barley and Irish oats in particular have a significantly lower carbon footprint than oats grown in the rest of Europe, much of this down to higher yields in Irish soils,” he added.

Jonny Greene is a fourth generation farmer at Levistown House in Meganey, Co, Kildare. “I’ve about 150 acres under gluten-free oats this year, up from 130 last year. I’ve steadily increased it over the years. I’m always looking for premium markets and this crop suits my rotation pattern. The fact that it’s a low input crop also helps,” he said.