THERE were great celebrations in Goleen to mark the homecoming of local milk supplier to Drinagh Co-Op, Kieran O’Sullivan from Dunmanus, after he was declared the overall NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award winner for 2015 in Dublin last week.
The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards recognise standards of excellence in dairy farming, and is often referred to as ‘the Sam Maguire of dairy farming’. The awards set out to find and celebrate the top quality milk farmers in Ireland.
Kieran farms in Dunmanus, near Goleen, with his wife Catherine and son Cathal. They are the fifth generation of the O’Sullivan family to farm at Dunmanus. Kieran’s parents Donal and Mary also travelled to Dublin for the awards ceremony.
Kieran stated that Donal passed on his way of doing things to him and instilled in him how important it is to produce top-quality milk. he said that his father, Donal, never failed the methalyene blue test in all his time supplying milk.
Following success in both the Drinagh and Carbery Quality Milk Awards last year, Drinagh Co-Op then put Kieran forward for the national awards.
It is worth noting that Kieran won the Drinagh and Carbery awards based on his 2013 milk quality results and won the NDC awards based on his 2014 milk quality results. This goes to show how high his standards are and that he is producing these results on a consistent basis.
Following a visit from the expert judging panel last summer, which included Dr Jack Kennedy, Dr David Gleeson and Prof Patrick Wall, Kieran was shortlisted to the top thirteen. This panel measured Kieran’s farm against a list of exacting standards, including a review of milk quality standards and technical data spanning a full 12-month period combined with best practice in critical areas such as sustainability, care of the environment, animal health and welfare and overall farm management.
After visiting Kieran’s farm, Prof Patrick Wall stated that ‘the focus on the end product defines this farm’ and ‘that there is a clear dedication to perfection.’ In 2014. Kieran milked 124 cows with an average yield 4,717 litres, average TBC 6 and SCC 71.
This all led to Kieran and Catherine receiving the NDC and Kerrygold Milk Quality Award. This award is in its seventh year and Kieran has become the first Cork farmer to win it.
The following evening bonfires lit the roads to Goleen, where a large crowd was waiting to welcome the O’Sullivan family and the cup home.