BY JOHN SEXTON
SPEAKING at the Carbery Quality Milk Awards function at Fernhill House Hotel in Clonakilty recently, Group CEO Dan MacSweeney stated that, in quite a contrast to last year, when quotas were lifted, production in Europe has shot up to the extent that there is now a massive surplus with countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Ireland having increased supply beyond all expectations.
However, as of now there is a noticeable improvement, especially with butter consumption with demand is on the rise. He said that, here in West Cork, they had maintained the best price possible and, with Dubliner Cheese and Kerrygold Butter being products of excellence, there is every possibility that the market will eventually level out.
The fact that we have a grass-based product gives us a cost of production advantage over many of our competitors, he added.
In congratulating all the winners, Dan MacSweeney remarked on the rising standards each year, which shows how serious the dairy farmers of West Cork are about their business.
John McNamara of Teagasc and Paddy Barrett, Carbery Group, of the judging panel, spelled out the various headings under which they judged the various entries, including total bacteria count (TBC), Somatic Cell Counts (SCC), butter fat and protein levels; condition of the dairy and milking facilities, breeding policy, an inspection of the herd and grassland management and overall farmyard appearance. There was a winner and two runner-up prizes for each of the four co-ops – Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh and Lisavaird – and then an overall prize.
Speaking at the presentation of the awards, Dermot O’Leary, chairman of the Carbery Group, paid a glowing tribute to the management and staff of Carbery for making this West Cork enterprise the flagship of the dairy industry in Ireland and he complimented them for their research and development (R&D), which has opened-up markets for them all over the world. Also present at the function were the chairmen and chief executives of the four co-ops, as well as last year’s winners, Tim and Breda Hurley, Caherbeg, Rosscarbery.
The Bandon Co-Op winners were Garret and Catherine O’Neill, Ballinard, Enniskeane. The runners-up were Mark and Yvonne Moynihan, Crowhill, Innishannon, and Con and Margaret O’Sullivan, Ardkillen, Enniskeane
The Lisavaird winners were Robert and Shirley Shannon, Droumgarriffe, Clonakilty. The runners-up were Stephen and Hillary Buttimer, Ballineen, and John McCarthy, Tullymurrihy, Ballinascarthy.
The Barryroe winners were Norman and Elma Perrott, Grange, Lislevane. The runners-up were Helen & Caroline O’Donovan, Brownstown, Ballinspittle, and Tim and Martina Sexton, Cullinagh, Courtmacsherry.
Drinagh winners were Michael and Marguerite Crowley, Bauravilla, Skibbereen. The runners-up were Tim and Caroline O’Mahony, Schull, and Billy Wolfe, Knockawaddra, Dunmanway.
The overall winners were Drinagh Co-Op suppliers Michael and Marguerite Crowley. Michael is an outstanding grassland farmer and, despite being busy managing 150 cows, he also finds time for the sporting life, being a prominent road bowler, a sport his children are also keen on. Accompanying them at the awards were Michael’s mother, sister and children.
They look forward to the Carbery open day on their farm in Bauravilla in early part of August.