Three locals were named among the big winners at the Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards last week.
Dromore’s Beattie Lilburn and Sons were named Dairy Farmer of the Year.
Farm Supplier/ Machinery Company of the Year went to JMK Quads from Banbridge while Glascar man Geoffrey Malcomson won Young Farmer / Student of the Year.
Beattie Lilburn and his sons Reggie and David won top spot for their 500 acres farm at Hillcrest Farm.
The main enterprise is dairying with 230 cows and 270 youngstock, while a small flock of sheep is also run.
The closed dairy herd is managed on an autumn calving system and objectives are achieved by farming an efficient high forage system.
The main objective of the farm is to develop a sustainable forage system with grazed grass as the core forage complemented by high dry matter silage and whole crop.
Furthermore, the farm has developed a sustainable approach to feeding cows by using the farm’s potential to grow as much home-grown feed as possible in the form of combinable cereals that also make the farm self sufficient in straw.
Last year the farm won the dairy section of the Northern Ireland Silage Competition. This year they won the Northern Ireland Heifer Rear of the year competition and are in contention for the All Ireland award.
Meanwhile, Farm Supplier/ Machinery Company of the Year, JMK Quads has been trading for over ten years and employs six staff – two qualified mechanics, a sales manager, stores person, delivery and office administrator.
The family run business has gone from strength to strength with an annual turnover of £1million.
The majority of their customers are farmers so JMK Quads can be found at annual agricultural shows such as Balmoral, Castlewellan, Armagh, Shane’s Castle and the Royal Highland Show.
The firm is an authorised dealer of Kawasaki, Honda and Suzuki and has recently taken on Polaris.
Highly commended was SlurryKat from Waringstown.
Now at the helm of Ringclare Farm, Glascar, Geoffrey Malcomson was also honoured at the awards.
The 26-year old gained a first class honours degree in civil engineering and worked his student summers through scholarships within the engineering industry.
He has travelled to New Zealand and Canada to broaden his horizons and work on large scale farms in both countries.
Since 2011, he has been managing the family dairy herd, pedigree sheep flock and arable crops working alongside his father and mother as the other partners in the business.
He has increased the herd by 50% from 80 cows to a comfortable capacity of 120 through own replacement and has increased yield from 6500 litres on 1.5 tonnes of concentrates to 8300 litres on 1.9 tonnes of concentrates.
Geoffrey has been an area council member for united Dairy farmers and is a member of the dairy programme committee for the Ulster Farmers’ Union.