Roscommon farmers Michael and Miriam Gunn, from Strokestown, have scooped the top prize at the 12th annual Aurivo Milk Quality Awards.

Together they were named Aurivo Milk Supplier of the year, and also picked up the prize of ‘Champions of Sustainability’, due to their “relentless focus on sustainable farming techniques”.

They were among eight award winners who, along with their families, attended an award ceremony at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo.

The Gunn family are the inaugural winners of the Champions of Sustainability award, and credited their success to “a number of lean efficiencies that contribute to a more efficient operation”.

“Today we congratulate our eight Quality Milk Award winners for 2018, but also acknowledge the other 1,000 milk suppliers across Ireland who work countless hours to deliver first class quality milk,” said Aaron Forde, CEO of Aurivo.

“Aurivo has expanded both nationally and globally thanks to our dairy products, and this would have not been possible without the hard work and dedication displayed by our farmers and their families,” he added.

The special guest at the ceremony was John Jordan, CEO of Ornua, who presented the winners with their awards.

Pat Duffy, Aurivo’s chairman, said: “Each individual award winner tonight has shown the utmost commitment in producing high-quality milk, [and] also high standards of animal welfare and ensuring our co-op, environment and rural communities thrive for future generations.

“Farming is a family affair and so I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our eight winners, and the families that support you, who continuously raise the standards of milk production in Ireland,” he added.

The Gunn family will now represent Aurivo at the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards later this year.

The eight winners on the night were:

  • Champions of Sustainability and Milk Supplier of the Year – Michael and Miriam Gunn, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon;
  • Excellence in Udder Health – Noel and Raymond Harte, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal;
  • Lowest TBC Liquid Milk – Charles McCandless, Culdaff, Co. Donegal;
  • Most Improved SCC (somatic cell count) – Declan McManamy, Ballymote, Co. Sligo;
  • Highest Average Milk Solids – Eamon Heaney, Craughwell, Co. Galway;
  • Best New Entrant – Gavyn Shortall, Moate, Co. Westmeath;
  • Best Northern Ireland Supplier – Ian Stewart, Bushmills, Co. Antrim;
  • Lowest TBC Manufacturing Milk – Declan Lynn, Crossmolina, Co. Mayo.