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Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards

Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards

18th June 2024

Tipperary dairy farmer and Dairygold milk suppliers Aidan and Derval Kennedy from Drangan House, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, were declared the Overall Winners of the 2023 Dairygold Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards. The awards were presented at an awards ceremony in Springfort Hall, Mallow, Co. Cork.

Aidan and his wife Derval, along with their two children Galina and Nicholas, run a thriving dairy farm on a 131-hectare milking platform and a further 50 hectares of rented land. Their 400 cows produce 2.1 million litres of milk annually using a 50-unit rotary parlour. The judges highlighted the exceptional calf rearing and animal welfare on the farm. He employs selective dry cow therapy on 60% of the herd, chosen based on milk recording and clinical mastitis records.

In terms of sustainability, Aidan has been using protected urea for the past four years.  Biodiversity, hedgerow management, and tree planting have long been integral to the farm’s operations. The judges were also highly impressed by the teamwork demonstrated on the farm.

As well as renaming the awards this year to include a reference to sustainability in acknowledgement of the huge role it now plays in milk quality, Dairygold also included a Grassroots Sustainability award this year. This award category recognises the work being done by milk suppliers to make improvements to the sustainability of their farm enterprises through the actions implemented as part of Dairygold’s Grassroots Milk Supplier Sustainability Bonus Programme, launched in December 2022. Since its launch, the Grassroots Milk Supplier Sustainability Programme has seen over 93% of Dairygold’s milk supply join the programme and implement the measures set out as part of the bonus.

Speaking about the awards, Dairygold Chairman Seán O’Brien said: “These awards not only highlight the exceptional quality of milk produced by our suppliers but also underscore the importance of sustainability in modern farming. The awards set a very high standard for others to follow.”

Congratulating the winners, Dairygold Interim Chief Executive Michael Harte said: “These awards provide an excellent opportunity for us to reward the efforts of our milk suppliers across the year to produce the best quality milk. It is through the efforts of these suppliers that Dairygold can maintain its high standards. We are proud to celebrate the success of all our award recipients that are leading the way in milk quality and sustainability.”

The awards were based on 2023 milk quality data for all 2,600 Dairygold milk suppliers across counties Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare. A shortlist was drawn up from each of the six Dairygold regions. Eighteen finalists underwent adjudication by Don Crowley, Teagasc Dairy Specialist and Dr. William Burchill, University College Cork.

The judges chose one overall winner, six regional winners, a Grassroots Sustainability winner, and a Special Recognition Award winner.