A husband and wife team from Co. Galway has been named as the Aurivo Milk Supplier of the Year for 2021.

Austin and Yvonne Connelly run a fourth-generation family farm at their home in Tuam with their four daughters.

The farm was operating as a suckler and sheep enterprise when Austin took over in 2003.

The couple decided to convert to dairy around three years ago and are now milking 97 Holstein Friesian cows on 120 acres.

The judges in the 15th annual Aurivo Milk Quality Awards highlighted the couple’s dedication to animal welfare and strong focus on sustainable farming practices.

They were also recognised for their attention to detail, excellent milk recording and the ability to learn from other dairy farmers, as well as Aurivo and Teagasc specialists.

The Connellys will now represent processor in at the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards which celebrate the best milk suppliers in Ireland.

milk awards
Winners of the 15th Annual Aurivo Milk Quality Awards at the recent ceremony.

In total, eight Aurivo milk suppliers were acknowledged for their contribution to dairy farming excellence at this year’s awards.

The winners in the eight categories included:

  • Milk Supplier of the Year 2022: Austin and Yvonne Connelly, Co. Galway;
  • Excellence in Udder Health: Gerard Brennan, Co. Roscommon;
  • Lowest total bacterial count (TBC) Liquid Milk: David and Brooke Wylie, Co. Donegal;
  • Most Improved somatic cell count (SCC): Michael and Michelle O’Dowd, Co. Sligo;
  • Highest Average Milk Solids: Alan McCormick, Co. Mayo;
  • Best New Entrant: Martin and Lisa Alexander, Co. Donegal;
  • Lowest TBC Manufacturing Milk: Seamus, James and Aisling Claffey, Co. Westmeath;
  • Best Northern Ireland Supplier: Alastair and Phyllis Cochrane, Co. Antrim.

Commenting on the awards, Donal Tierney, chief executive of Aurivo, said:

“I would like to congratulate our eight milk quality award winners, who continuously illustrated the highest quality of milk supply for both liquid and manufacturing milk. It is a privilege to honour their commitment, hard work and strive for excellence.

“Aurivo is very proud of its quality milk pool and committed supplier base of almost 1,000 suppliers in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. Our farming families’ incredible commitment and dedication allows us to produce the best quality milk,” Tierney added.