A farm in Whitechurch, County Cork has been recognised as the overall winner of the 2017 Dairygold Milk Quality Awards.
Owners Kevin Downing and wife Bernie were awarded last Thursday (May 24th) for consistently supplying the best quality milk to Dairygold throughout last year.
The couple were also awarded the overall award for the East Cork region earlier the same night.
The award presentation took place at the Springfort Hall Hotel in Mallow.
Kevin has followed in his late father’s footsteps who won the same award in 2010. Michael Downing sadly passed away three years ago.
The Downing farm, located a few miles north of Cork city, has a strong history of achievement in dairy farming. Kevin, his wife Bernie and farm manager Tom Carr, produce liquid and manufacturing milk from 160 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows, sell dairy stock and beef cattle as well as grow cereals.
Although all the 18 finalists demonstrated exceptional quality, the Downing farm was declared by judges as an excellent example of what good management and high standards of production can achieve with cows producing over 560kgs of solids at 4.3% fat and over 3.6% protein and a low average SCC.
Accepting the award Mr. Kevin Downing said:
“This is a very proud achievement and wonderful recognition from Dairygold of our efforts. The standards of all the finalists was extremely high. It’s also naturally a sentimental achievement for us as my father won the award eight years ago.
“He had a very strong ethos for quality and was an absolute perfectionist – I’m proud that we have been able to continue that tradition and to maintain those same high standards in every aspect of our on-farm operations.”
Dairygold Chairman Mr. John O’Gorman commended Kevin and his team for their efforts.
“Kevin and Tom operate an excellent farm with very well-kept facilities and they have a keen awareness of the importance of hygiene, safety and sustainability. The Downings are very deserving winners and we wish them every success for the future,” said Mr O’Gorman.
“As a dairy processor, Dairygold is constantly emphasising the importance of milk quality and to me what better way to reinforce the message than by recognising and rewarding best performance and practice across our supplier base.
“Our Milk Quality Awards are a very special night where our producers are at the heart of the occasion and celebrated for their achievements.
“The ethos of continuous improvement that we strive to instil within the organisation is very much evident across our milk supply base which is reflected in the €4.3 million in quality bonus payments to milk suppliers through the Balanced Scorecard last year.”
The awards were based on 2017 milk quality data for all 2,900 Dairygold milk suppliers across counties Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare. A shortlist was drawn up of three suppliers from each of the six Dairygold regions. These 18 finalists underwent adjudication by two independent judges Dr. Karina Pierce, University College Dublin and Mr. Don Crowley, Teagasc dairy specialist.
The judges visited all 18 shortlisted farms to review their farm enterprises first hand. The review takes account of milk quality, dairy facilities, herd health and welfare, sustainability and general efficiencies and farm health and safety. The Judges chose six regional winners and the overall winner was announced on the night.
The overall runners up were Thomas Horan from Cashel, Co. Tipperary and Timothy Roche from Dripsey, Co. Cork.