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Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality Awards

Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality Awards

25th May 2022

Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality Awards

25th May 2022

Gearoid and Sarah Maher in Limerick awarded best quality milk for 2021

Dairygold milk suppliers Gearoid and Sarah Maher from Killuragh, Cappamore, Co. Limerick were declared the overall winners of the 2021 Dairygold Milk Quality Awards and winners of the Limerick region for consistently supplying the best quality milk to Dairygold throughout 2021.

Pictured at the Dairygold Milk Quality Awards are Limerick region & overall winners Gearoid Maher, his wife Sarah, Killuragh, Cappamore with John O’Gorman, Chairman, Billy Cronin Head of Supply Chain, Dairygold, Sophie Roche, Kildalton Agricultural College student, Conor Galvin, CEO & Maurice Curtin, Dairygold Board Member.

Gearoid farms in partnership with his wife Sarah with a herd of 80 Pedigree Friesian cows. The herd produced 500 kgs milk solids per cow in 2021 with an average Somatic Cell Count (SCC) of 118 and Total Bacterial Count (TBC) of 9. The attention to detail across all aspects of the farm business was clearly demonstrated in the achievement of the excellent results in this year’s awards.

Gearoid and Sarah’s efforts across the farm to show how nature and farming can work side by side really stood out to the judges. Gearoid is a Farming for Nature Ambassador and is also involved in an EIP project focused on water quality. They have also implemented various sustainability measures on farm such as nitrogen reduction on the platform, the use of selective dry cow therapy and abstaining from pesticide application for two years.

Pictured at the Dairygold Milk Quality Awards overall winners farm are Gearoid Maher, his wife Sarah, Killuragh, Cappamore with Paul O’Connell, Milk Supply Manager.

The Limerick region was also home to this year’s Sustainability Milk Quality Award Winners Liam and Geraldine Herlihy of Kingsland, Bruree, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick.  The Sustainability Award recognises the efforts of Dairygold milk suppliers in making their operations more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The Herlihys were one of the Dairygold ambassadors and pilot farms for the Leanfarm programme when it was first launched and continue to utilise its principles and ideas on a daily basis. The Herlihys have put a huge emphasis on soil quality on the farm and have put water preservation, clover inclusion and water harvesting protocols in place.

Speaking about the awards, Dairygold Chairman John O’Gorman said: “2021 was fraught with the challenges of Covid-19 and rising input costs towards the end of the year. Despite these challenges, Dairygold’s milk suppliers continued to provide the highest quality milk to the Society for its customers. The reputation of the Irish dairy industry hinges on the high standards and quality of our milk and the acknowledgement of this is demonstrated in the output from our suppliers. Our milk suppliers are continuing to produce “best in class milk” despite industry challenges and Dairygold will continue to do what it can to support them to adapt to these challenges.”

Congratulating the winners, Dairygold Chief Executive Conor Galvin said: “These awards are an excellent opportunity for us to reward the efforts of our milk suppliers across the year to produce the best quality milk. The ethos of continuous improvement that Dairygold strives to instil within the organisation is very much evident across our milk supply base when you look at this year’s winners. A strong supply of high quality milk is the foundation of Dairygold’s success and we will continue to support our milk suppliers in their goals to achieve this as best we can.”

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The awards were based on 2021 milk quality data for all 2,700 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 Professor Karina Pierce, UCD.

While adhering to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines the judges visited the shortlisted farms to review their farm enterprises first-hand. The review took account of milk quality, dairy facilities, herd health and welfare, sustainability and general efficiencies and farm health and safety.

The judges chose one overall winner, six regional winners and a sustainability winner.

Milk Quality Award Finalists

Limerick Region  
First overall

& Regional Winner


Gearoid and Sarah Maher, Killuragh, Cappamore, Co. Limerick
Regional Finalist &

Sustainability winner

Liam and Geraldine Herlihy, Kingsland, Bruree, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick

Regional Finalist


Anthony McCormack, Mooghaun, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare


Mid Cork Region  
Second overall

& Regional Winner


James and Orla Hurley, Dromfeigh, Ballineen, Co. Cork
Regional Finalist Sean, John and Eileen O’Leary, Kilbarry, Macroom, Co. Cork

Regional Finalist


John Keane, Coolmakee West, Farnanes, Co. Cork



Mallow Region  
Third overall

& Regional Winner


Conor Murphy, Kileen, Aghabullogue, Co. Cork
Regional Finalist Shane O’Donoghue, Tullig, Millstreet, Co. Cork

Regional Finalist


Blossomfort Farm (c/o Michael Moynihan), Blossomfort, Ballyclough, Mallow, Co. Cork



East Cork Region


Regional Winner


Henry and Ann Bailey, Monkstown, Co. Cork
Regional Finalist Togher Holstein Farm (c/o George Kingston), Knocklisheen, Togher, Co. Cork

Regional Finalist


John and Mary Ring, Coolowen, Blarney, Co. Cork



Mitchelstown Region  
Regional Winner


Clement and Eileen Twomey, Mount Rivers, Fermoy, Co. Cork
Regional Finalist William, Anne and Jerry Foley, Ballinraha, Ballyhooly, Co. Cork

Regional Finalist


Tadgh O’Brien, Behenaugh, Kilbehenny, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork




Tipperary Region  
Regional Winner


Jack, Bridie and John Martin, Coolentallagh, Burncourt, Cahir, Co. Tipperary


Regional Finalist Edmund Tobin, Killeenasteena, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Regional Finalist


Derryclooney Farms (c/o John and Emma O’Connor), Derryclooney, New Inn, Cashel, Co. Tipperary