2 new categories added to CellCheck Milking for Quality awards

This year, two new categories have been added to the CellCheck Milking For Quality awards, Animal Health Ireland (AHI) has announced.

Milking for Quality is an initiative to recognise and reward Irish farmers who are currently achieving very high standards of udder health on their farm.

Since the inception of the awards in 2014, FBD Insurance has sponsored the ‘Best 500 Award’ given to the 500 milk suppliers nationally with the lowest, weighted annual average somatic cell count (SCC) for the previous year’s supply.

This year’s new categories are open to all dairy discussions groups, AHI has announced.

The two new categories of awards for dairy discussion groups are: Most Improved Group and Best SCC Group.

For the Most Improved Group award, the winning group will be determined by the group which has the most improved group average bulk milk somatic cell count.

This will be based on SCC data submitted by milk processors to the ICBF database, for the September 2017 to August 2018 period – compared to the average of the previous two years.

Meanwhile, the Best SCC Group accolade will be awarded to the group which has the best group average for the September 2017 to August 2018 period. Again, bulk somatic cell count based on the monthly average SCC submitted by milk processors to the ICBF database.

Representatives from Teagasc, AHI and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) will analyse the data and determine the winners.

Commenting on this year’s awards, CEO of Animal Health Ireland Dr. David Graham said: “I would like to thank FBD for its continued support and sponsorship of the CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards.

“In addition to the ‘Best 500’ Award, this partnership with FBD will allow us to introduce two new categories of awards specifically for dairy discussion groups.

The focus on dairy discussion groups will provide us with the opportunity to further raise awareness and to set a focus on SCC reduction among dairy discussions groups, which will ultimately benefit them financially.

“I would also like to thank Teagasc and the ICBF which are supporting us in the analysis and the judging process of these new categories,” concluded Dr. Graham.

Attending the launch of the awards, John Cahalan – chief commercial officer of FBD Insurance plc – said: “FBD Insurance is delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with the Animal Health Ireland CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards.

“Since we first started supporting these awards, it has been wonderful to see this initiative go from strength to strength.

“Animal Health Ireland is recognised for its immense contribution to Ireland’s agricultural sector and to rural life generally.

“At FBD Insurance, we will continue to support our loyal customer base, we know that awards such as these help to raise standards on Irish farms.”

Prof. Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc, also spoke. He added: “We are very pleased to continue working with Animal Health Ireland and the other partners on the CellCheck Milking for Quality awards.

This initiative is really important in recognising and acknowledging those dairy farmers who are striving to deliver the highest quality milk they can produce.

Details and application forms are available from the AHI website or any Teagasc dairy advisor. The deadline for the return of the application form is Monday, May 28.