A Barryroe Co-op milk supplier has taken home the overall award at the 2023 Carbery Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards.

Seán Deasy milks 80 cows and farms 80ac in Ahafore, Timoleague, Co. Cork, with help from his wife Fiona and their daughters Gemma (16) and Mia (13). 

Deasy achieved 509kg of milk solids per cow in 2022 and he credits the quality he achieves to “consistency”.

Deasy is an early adopter of new approaches and technology, and this has led to many changes, including reseeding with clover, not spraying weeds too often and reducing his fertiliser application by half in the last 10 years.

Winner Seán Deasy. Source: Clare Keogh

He has been milk recording for more than 30 years and said he uses the Barryroe Co-op app to spot any problems early.

“People have old-fashioned perceptions about farmers which I think need to be challenged.

“Farmers are always looking forward to what they can do better. We are very qualified, we know a lot about the environment and if we are not going to be custodians of the land, who is?” Deasy said.

Carberry awards

Carbery chief executive officer (CEO) Jason Hawkins said: “We know that our farmer shareholders are committed, progressive and environmentally minded. These Awards are about showcasing the calibre and standard of Irish dairy farmers to our customers, partners and the wider community”.

Carberry chair Cormac O’Keefe said: “Farming can be a thankless job, especially in the current climate with cost, and environmental pressures stacking up. These farming families set the standards and tell the story we want to show to the world about Irish dairy”.

The judges for this year’s competition included: Carbery quality director Paddy Barrett; Farm sustainability manager, Aoife Healy; and Teagasc Cork West John McNamara.

The judges noted the high standard on all farms this year, and in particular the effort in consistency and hygiene, the use of data and technology to monitor results, and commitment to quality and the integration of sustainable farming practices. 

Owned by farming families, Carbery Group processed 598 million litres of milk in 2022, to produce award-winning cheeses and food ingredients in Ballineen, and flavours internationally, which were sold in over 50 international markets across the world.

Finalists and winners

There were three finalists from each west Cork Co-op (Bandon, Barryroe, Lisavaird and Drinagh) for the quality awards and the full list of finalists and winners is below.

Bandon Co-op:

Falvey family, Curranure, Innishannon – Bandon Co-op winner;

Murphy family, Garraha, Kinsale;

Murphy family, Hollyhill, Kinsale.

Barryroe Co-op:

Deasy family, Ahafore, Timoleague – Barryroe Co-op winner and overall winner;

Tim Crowley and farm manager Darren Keohane, Ballyhander, Ballinspittle;

Burke family, Ballycatten, Timoleague.

Drinagh Coop

Lynch family, Coolnaclehy, Skibbereen – Drinagh Co-op winner;

Deane family, Bunalun, Skibbereen;

Ann Kingston and farm manager Pat O’Regan, Ferlihanes, Rossmore.

Lisavaird Coop

The Walsh family, Keel North, Enniskeane – Lisavaird Co-op winner;

Donal and Tim McCarthy and farm manager Jim Duggan, Casheliskey, Clonakilty;

The Hurley family, Cahir, Lyre.