Tirlán is aiming to double the acreage sown to gluten-free oat crops this spring.
Heavy rainfall in October and November hampered planting efforts and there are now strong opportunities for growers with suitable land to sow the premium crop, Tirlán said.
Thousands of acres of ground identified as potentially suitable for spring oats will be vetted over the coming weeks and new gluten-free oat crop growers are still being recruited.
Gluten-free oats are a premium grain and deliver strong opportunities for farmers, particularly so with fertiliser costs remaining high, Donal Moloney, Tirlán grain manager, said.
Last year, Tirlán’s growers received a premium of €30 per tonne over the feed wheat price.
All harvesting and transport, potentially worth an additional €30 per tonne, is also carried out by Tirlán as part of the ‘closed loop’ system using dedicated machinery, Mr Moloney added.
"The economic returns for growers compare very favourably with traditional crops like winter wheat and malting barley," he said.
"Oats also carry lower production costs, particularly where fertiliser is concerned. This is an added incentive and a key consideration for farmers for 2023 and possibly beyond.
"Acreage increased in 2022, we plan to double our intake for 2023 and such is the demand from our customers and consumers that acreage will continue to increase over the coming years."
Delivering food-grade gluten-free oats requires that strict specifications are met. All seed is provided by Tirlán and all crop advice is provided by Tirlán FarmLife agronomists to meet strict contract requirements.
Tirlán is particularly looking to extend the land base sown across counties Kildare, Laois, Carlow, and into Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Meath, and Dublin and is still eager to speak with potential growers.
Gluten-free oats must be grown after a non-cereal break crop, such as maize, grass, oil seed rape, beet, or vegetables.
Other considerations for suitable land use are farm size and field access, as dedicated gluten-free machinery is required for harvesting.