Wexford malting barley grower William Masterson was the overall winner of the Irish Malting Barley Excellence Awards this week.
The award ceremony took place in the Guinness Storehouse and was presented by Tom Hayes T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
As part of the prize, Masterson will be brought for a three-day trip to the Axereal Research and Innovation centre, ‘Domaine du Chaumoy’, near Bourges in France.
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The purpose of the trip is to highlight innovative farming practices that lead to greater sustainability in the supply chain.
The awards were jointly hosted by Diageo and Boortmalt, one of the largest producers of malt in the world. Diageo is the largest single purchaser of barley in Ireland and sources almost 90% of its malting barley requirements locally through its supplier Boortmalt.
"Malting barley production is a very valuable and important section within the agri-food industry and the future prospects of this sector are very positive, primarily due to increasing global beer consumption and a general fall in the area of malting barley production internationally. It is widely accepted that Irish malt is regarded as being of a very high quality and thus a premium product, mainly due to our favourable growing conditions and the range of spring barley varieties available to our growers," said Minister Hayes.