The 2018 Dale Farm Expansion Awards, sponsored by Ulster Bank, were presented at Balmoral Show on Thursday, 17th May.
The awards recognised the significant steps taken by Dale Farm dairy farmers to sustainably grow their milk output, with the overall award and top prize going to Ian and Raymond Caldwell of Fintona, County Tyrone.
The judging panel screened the milk production of all members and selected those with an increase in production of over 25%, cross checked with their milk quality results.
Farm visits were then undertaken to view production systems and determine the key management factors and farm development steps implemented over the past two years, which resulted in expansion of milk production.
Seven finalists received awards. These included:
Highly commended – Jonathan Martin (Dromara); Richard Millar (Clogh); Andrew and Adrian Bates (Ballyronan); William and Richard Hood (Ahoghill)
New entrant category winner - James Booth (Killinchy)
Under one million litre winner- Trevor McNeilly (Randalstown)
Over one million litre winner and overall winner-Ian and Raymond Caldwell (Fintona)
Speaking at the awards presentation, Chairman of Dale Farm Group, John Dunlop, said: “Balmoral Show is the perfect platform to recognise and reward the sustainable, proactive approach our members take towards developing their businesses. Their hard work and commitment drives the success of Dale Farm as a cooperative.
“I would like to congratulate all winners in this year’s awards and pay particular credit to Ian and Raymond Caldwell, whose attention to detail has yielded a 40% increase in milk output over the past two years.”
Nick Whelan, Group Chief Executive of Dale Farm added: “Demand for Dale Farm’s dairy products within the retail sector continues to grow and in order to meet this, we in turn need to grow our milk pool.
“These awards celebrate the sustainable growth of our members’ businesses and highlight the excellence of the local dairy sector overall. I am proud of the achievements of all our members and particularly congratulate this year’s award winners for their ongoing commitment to success.”
Ulster Bank’s Director of Corporate Banking Stephen Hughes, added: “Ulster Bank has a longstanding heritage of supporting the dairy sector and as such is proud to once again sponsor the Dale Farm Expansion Awards at Balmoral Show.
“We continue to be impressed by the standards demonstrated by Dale Farm members year on year – reflective of the strength of local dairy farming.”