Winners of Irish Dairy National Quality Milk Awards 2017 announced

John and Maria Walsh and their family, Ballylomasna, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co Tipperary, were the winners of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2017
John and Maria Walsh and their family, Ballylomasna, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co Tipperary, were the winners of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2017

Ireland’s top prize for best quality milk has been awarded to John and Maria Walsh, from Co Tipperary who supply their milk to Dairygold Co-op. 

The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards have been running since 1996 and celebrates excellence in Irish dairy farming.

The winners were announced in Dublin on Wednesday, 4th October, with presentations to 14 of Ireland’s top dairy farms by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

Winners John and Maria Walsh were accompanied by their family and received a prize of €5,000 and the coveted NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup.

John and Maria Walsh have three children; Brendan, Claire and Helena.

They are the sixth generation of farmers to farm the land and take great pride in their work.

Attention to detail is paramount and all farm decisions are discussed as a family on a Saturday evening around the dinner table.

Farm safety is key and something they are very passionate about. 

Minister Michael Creed said: “Irish farming is more than just a business, it is a way of life. Irish farmers learn their craft from their parents and grandparents before them.

“It is no accident that Irish dairy products are regarded as the best in the world.

“Irish farmers and their family’s commitment to delivering world class quality milk, day in day out, coupled with our grass based farming systems has enabled us to build successful markets for dairy products around the world.”

The farmers who are nominated for the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards are representing milk pools of hundreds or sometimes even thousands of dairy farmers in their own co-ops. 

It is a serious short-listing process for the three judges, Professor Pat Wall from UCD, Dr David Gleeson (Teagasc) and Dr Jack Kennedy (Irish Farmers Journal).

This year the award organisers have introduced Irish chef Clodagh McKenna as the Food Ambassador celebrating the delicious taste and quality of Irish dairy produce both at home and abroad.

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the NDC, said: “Our work in the NDC is really made possible because of the high quality of Irish milk and dairy produce available to consumers here, produced from top quality farms, off grassland.”

Kevin Lane, chief executive of Ornua, said: “At Ornua, we are very proud to sponsor the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards which is going from strength to strength each year.

“It is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate Irish farmers who are role models and who raise the bar for everyone in the industry, encouraging all of us to work harder and do better.

“Irish farmers, and their families, unrivalled commitment to delivering world class quality milk, day in day out, has enabled us to build Kerrygold into the much-loved growing global brand that it is today.”

Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc spoke on behalf of the national judging panel and thanked the farmers and co-ops for participating in the national awards.

He said: “When we visit the short-listed farms every year as judges we see at first hand the genuine pride of Irish farmers and why they are #madeforthis.

“Twenty-two farms were nominated and 14 were short listed for a farm visit. These farms were located in nine different counties from west Cork to Donegal.

“Three of the key milk quality parameters assessed in the shortlisting process are TBC; SCC and protein percentage.

“The milk quality standards being achieved on these nominated farms are getting higher each year.

“What stands out is dedication to doing things right; a thirst for sharing knowledge and learning about ways to improve how things are done; and a heartfelt wish to carry on the tradition of the family farm, passing on the farm as good as, or better than it was before to the next generation.”

Learn more about this year’s winners at www.qualitymilkawards.ie #madeforethis

Winners – 2016 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards #madeforthis National Winners of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2017

John and Maria Walsh, Ballylomasna, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Nominated by: Dairygold Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/walsh-farm/

Three farms received Excellence in Dairy Awards with Category Acknowledgement

Best percentage solids

Crowley family, Bauravilla Upper, Skibbereen, Co Cork

Nominated by: Drinagh Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/crowley-farm/

Innovation

Gerard Doyle and family, Curragh, Owning, Piltown, Co Kilkenny

Nominated by: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/doyle-farm/

Sustainability

John Walsh and family, Ballylomasna, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Nominated by: Dairygold Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/walsh-farm/

Five farms received National Category Awards:

All year-round winner

David Boland, Horseleap, Moate, Co Westmeath

Nominated by: Aurivo Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/boland-farm/

Best new entrant

Padraig, John and Gertrude Keane, Ballywilliam, Kilcormac, Birr, Co Offaly

Nominated by: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/keane-farm/

Lowest TBC

John, Niall and Carol Mason, Ballinduganig, Ballyseedy, Tralee, Co Kerry

Nominated by: Lee Strand Co-op Ltd.

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/mason-farm/

Lowest SCC

Eamon McMahon, Knockaturley, Stranooden, Co Monaghan

Nominated by: LacPatrick

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/mcmahon-farm/

Highest milk solids per hectare

Robert and Shirley Shannon, Droumgarriffe, Ballinascarthy, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Nominated by: Lisavaird Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/shannon-farm/

Six farms received national finalist awards

Finalist

Patrick and Shauna Crotty, Loop Head, Kilbaha South, Kilrush, Co Clare

Nominated by: Kerry Agribusiness

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/crotty-farm/

Declan Finn, The Lodge, Curraglass, Newtown, Charleville, Co Cork

Nominated by: Kerry Agribusiness

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/finn-farm/

Sean Hegarty, Pairc na Glas, Killavarrig, Whites Cross, Co Cork

Nominated by: Clóna Dairy Products

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/hegarty-farm/

Sean Lynch, Glencrow, Moville, Co Donegal

Nominated by: Aurivo

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/lynch-farm/

Norman Perrott, Grange, Timoleague, Bandon, Co Cork

Nominated by: Barryroe Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/new-project-2/

Nicky and Philip Thornton, Beechwood, Dualla, Cashel, Co Tipperary

Nominated by: Centenary Thurles Co-op

http://www.qualitymilkawards.ie/thorntonfarm/

For further information and full details on the results from each farm visit www.qualitymilkawards.ie.