Quality Milk Award winners 2018 open gates to the public

Darren and his wife Denise McKenna were the winners of the 2018 National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award – which has been running since 1996 and recognises standards of excellence in dairy farming.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, the NDC – in association with Teagasc, Ornua and Lakeland Dairies – will host their annual farm walk and seminar at the McKenna family farm located just outside Emyvale, Co. Monaghan.

The McKenna’s farm is very much a family farm. Their nephews and nieces are all available to help out and even their neighbour, Cormac, helps out with relief milking.

Success to Darren is about growing more grass in a sustainable manner and having a cow that will look after herself while turning grass into milk of the highest standard.

The family invested in the farm in 2007 when sheds, the parlour and tunnels were constructed to allow them to build cow numbers from 60 to 90 by 2017, and up to 105 cows this year.

On the farm walk, groups will be led around the McKenna farm to cover the following topics:

  • Farm performance – both current and over time;
  • Producing high-quality milk with low somatic cell count and total bacterial count;
  • Sustainable milk production while caring for the environment;
  • Reduced antibiotic use – the case for selective dry cow therapy;
  • And ‘Taste the difference! Grass fed milk tastes better’.

The farm walk, hosted by Teagasc, will be open to members of the public from 1:30pm.

Tom O Dwyer, Teagasc dairy knowledge transfer specialist, urged dairy farmers to avail of the opportunity to visit this award-winning family farm.

He said: “The McKenna farm is a great example of a top-class dairy farm, and all dairy farmers and those thinking of entering the sector should come along on June 12 to see the farm for themselves and meet the family.”

The chairman of Lakeland Dairies, Alo Duffy, said:

“We are proud to have Darren and Denise as suppliers of Lakeland Dairies. They are tremendous ambassadors for the co-op, their county and dairy farmers across the country.

“Winning the 2018 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award is an incredible achievement for Darren and Denise and it shows what the rewards are for achieving greatness each day.”

The farm is located adjacent to the village of Emyvale, which itself is on the N2 Dublin to Derry road. The farm will be signposted from Emyvale and the Eircode is: H18 CY99.

Stay tuned to AgriLand throughout the week for updates from the event.