Pics & Video: National Dairy Council Milk Quality Award winning dairy farm

Last year the O’Sullivan dairy farm in Goleen, Co. Cork took the title of the National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Milk Quality award winners.

This week the family, with the support of their co-op Drinagh and Teagasc, opened the gates of their farm to the public.

Located on the Mizen Peninsula, Kieran & Catherine O’Sullivan’s dairy farm is run with their son Cathal and Kieran’s parents Donal and Mary.

Kieran and Catherine are the fifth generation of their family to farm the land at Dunmanus and were nominated for the competition by their co-op Drinagh. Drinagh has over 600 suppliers, whose milk is processed by Carbery.

Dairy Farm Stats

The farm comprises 102ha in total, of which 80ha is owned. The home farm is 54ha, including the rented land and this is used for grazing.

The 150-cow herd is spring calving, having been built up from 134 the previous year. Twenty seven of the herd are heifers, while 25 are second calvers. The herd EBI is €146, weighted towards fertility at €144 and milk solids of €6.

From the milking parlour to the further piece of land where the cows graze stretches to 1.9km and there are 30ha of rough hill ground on the farm. A further 14ha of the farm is described as ‘wet’.

According to the Teagasc Dairy Profit Monitor figures, the O’Sullivan farm has a total output of 33.74c/L, based on a milk price of 32.5c/L. Total variable costs are 11.21c/L, with all common costs coming to 21.17c/L. This leaves a common profit of 12.57c/L and a return of 8c/L for family labour, leaving a profit of 4.57c/L.

O’Sullivan Farm Facts
  • Total area farmed: 102ha (252 acres)
  • Average number of cows; 133
  • Heifers in herd; 20%
  • Stocking rate: 1.82LU/ha (overall farm)
  • Stocking rate: 2.44 cows/ha (milking area)
  • Milk Yield/cow: 4,584L
  • Co-op butterfat: 4.02% – 190kg/cow
  • Co-op protein: 3.56% – 168kg/cow
  • Total solids/cow: 358kg/cow
  • Kg of milk solids: 873kg/ha (milking area)
  • Milk price (net): 32.5c/L
  • Meals fed: 862kg/cow
  • Days in milk: 271 days on average

Figures from the farm show that a milk quality bonuses (SCC and TBC), including the Drinagh Co-op bonus for being Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) approved, were worth €3,860 to the farm in 2015, or €29/cow.