Arrabawn Co-op suppliers were lauded for their ongoing dedication to improving milk quality as 39 of them became the first dairy farmers in the country to be presented with their Animal Health Ireland CellCheck Milking Quality Awards for this year.
Speaking at the Co-op’s Herd Health Day, at which the awards were presented, at Gurteen Agricultural College, CEO of Arrabawn Conor Ryan said that the awards have illustrated again the milk quality that its suppliers deliver.
The great thing about the awards is that it gives particular recognition for the high achievers and this is thoroughly deserved as a huge amount of work goes into getting cell count down to the levels required for making the national awards list.CEO of Arrabawn Conor Ryan
“The ongoing CellCheck programme has been very important for dairy farmers as it has encouraged them, largely through education and awareness programmes, to focus on improving milk quality. The great thing about the awards is that it gives particular recognition for the high achievers and this is thoroughly deserved as a huge amount of work goes into getting cell count down to the levels required for making the national awards list.
“The net result of the CellCheck programme is that there has been a notable improvement in Cell Count levels and this, in turn, has led to improved herd health and improved profitability for suppliers. Farmers who have adopted the measures recommended for achieving best practise have seen veterinary bills drop, in particular, and can stand also to improve net farm profit by at least 1 cent per litre overall.”
Co-op Chairman Sean Monahan said that Arrabawn suppliers have shown a very strong commitment to improving milk quality over the past decade. “Our data is providing indications of real gains, with cell count levels reducing year on year. This year we have 39 suppliers across five counties receiving awards and overall our milk quality levels have been rising steadily over the past decade.
“This is all the more important now with global demand for milk having declined. As a result, quality is king and if we can continue to keep our milk quality at a consistently high level, that will help combat some of the downward pressure on price,” he said.
The Arrabawn Herd Health Day, with a ‘Prevention Better than Cure’ theme, was in keeping with the ongoing promotion at the co-op around enhancing milk quality.
In addition to the CellCheck awards, attendees at Gurteen heard from a range of speakers on topics associated with herd health, including Paidi Hyland, a veterinary expert for Bimeada who spoke on mastitis control and Pat Kelly, from Munster AI, who talked about genomics. Other speakers included Mike Frawley from Dan O’Connor’s, who spoke about feeding and condition scoring; Martin Beirne, from Inform Nutrition, who discussed pre-calving mineral supplementation and Kieran Holden, from Goldings, who talked about the very successful Selenium fertiliser programme launched.
The event also include a range of exhibitors and demonstrations, covering topics such as cattle handling, slatted house hygiene control, milking parlour maintenance, rodent control, mineral supplements, pasture reseeding, soil and silage analysis, financial planning and mastitis prevention.