Farmers to get the chance to see inside Ireland’s top dairy farm

The 2015 winners of the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards, will be hosting a Teagasc organised farm walk on the afternoon of Friday, June 17, 2016.

Kieran, Catherine and Cathal O’Sullivan, Dunmanus, Goleen, Co. Cork, were the winners of the 2015 competition and the event will focus on the practical steps taken by the O’Sullivans to win the national title.

All dairy farmers are welcome to this event which will run from 2.00pm to 4.00pm on their farm.

The O’Sullivan family milk 138 cows on their 107ha farm (in 2015) and supply their milk to Drinagh Co-op. They have consistently achieved SCC levels of below 100,000cells/ml over the last five years, according to Teagasc.

They claimed the top prize following an assessment of the performance of 13 short-listed dairy farms from all parts of the country.

Milk quality is extremely important to the O’Sullivan family:

We are producing a food product here and we put the quality of the milk we produce on our farm as the number one priority.

“That is why the milking of the cows and the washing of the milking parlour inside and out is the most important job we do every day.”

This attention to milk quality has meant that the farm has previously won the Drinagh Milk Quality Awards and the Carbery Milk Quality Awards.

Billy Kelleher, Regional Advisory Manager, Teagasc, said that the farm walk will allow dairy farm families see at first-hand the types of achievable steps which can raise quality standards and which can help to maintain those standards throughout the year.

Many other farmers can learn from the O’Sullivans’ experiences in relation to milk quality, Teagasc says, they use the available information to make the right decisions and carry out the recommended actions correctly.

Zoë Kavanagh, Chief Executive NDC said that through this award programme we see the passion for progressing and learning the newest and best way of doing things; combined with a heartfelt wish to take care of, and develop the farm, so that it can be passed on to the next generation with care and pride.

Seamus Daly, Drinagh Co-op, said that the co-op is delighted that the ‘Sam Maguire’ of milk quality awards has been won by a Drinagh Co-op supplier and that the O’Sullivan family has made their farm available for this farm walk.

The importance of milk quality to Ornua was underlined by Kerrygold spokesperson Jeanne Kelly who said that Irish dairy farming is the best in the world, not only because of our natural grass based production system, but also because our farmers, down through generations, generously share their knowledge and continuously improve standards in the industry and in their communities.

“This Farm Walk generously hosted by the O’Sullivan family is a perfect example of our farming community’s appetite to share knowledge and help one another. We look forward to welcoming a big crowd to West Cork in June.”