A virtual farm walk will take place on the farm of the 2019 winners of the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards Kieran and Ann Hearne from Ballinacurra, Rathgormack, Co. Waterford.

The virtual farm walk webinar is due to take place – in less than two weeks – on Tuesday, June 30, at 11:00am.

Furthermore, on the day, a stream of posts through social media platforms will also highlight the best practices adopted on the Hearne family farm.

Kieran Hearne is a second-generation farmer and has been farming since 1990. The Hearne family have expanded their farm in a sustainable manner to make it more profitable, while continuing to produce top-quality milk.

Both Kieran and his wife, Ann, come from generations of farmers. In 2019, they milked 190 cows on 82ha, which saw them supply 1.1 million litres of milk to Glanbia Ireland.

Speaking in advance of the virtual farm walk, Kieran said: “I love dairy farming because it allows me to combine farming with family life, as we live and work on the farm.”

On the day, Kieran will discuss his farm and the steps that he has taken over the years to produce high-quality milk, while caring for the environment and providing a livelihood for his family.

Kieran’s Teagasc advisor, Seamus Kearney, and Glanbia Ireland’s milk quality manager, Brendan Walsh, will discuss how the farm is producing high-quality milk with low somatic cell count (SCC), low TBC, low thermoduric levels and zero residues.

There will also be a strong focus on how the family is farming with the environment – through hedgerow management to improve biodiversity – by using low emissions slurry spreading (LESS) methods and protected urea.

Tom O’Dwyer, who is head of dairy knowledge transfer in Teagasc, said: “Covid-19 restrictions have prevented us from organising a farm walk on the Hearne farm at this time.

“However, the webinar will allow dairy farm families to hear the types of achievable steps that can raise both quality standards and overall farm performance from an award-winning farmer.”