Dairygold announces winners of its annual Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards

Pictured at the Dairygold Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards are Mallow Regional Winners & Grassroots Sustainability Award Winners Thomas & Catherine Kenny, Mourneabbey, their son Christopher, his wife Aébhfinn Keane, their daughters Luisne & Síomha with Seán O’Brien, Dairygold Chairman, judge William Burchill, UCC, Michael Harte, Dairygold Interim Chief Executive, Fintan McSweeney, Dairygold Board Member, Billy Cronin, Dairygold Head of Supply Chain, Hannah Dinan, Dairygold Sustainability Advisor, Shane O’Donnell, Dairygold, judge Don Crowley, Teagasc & Stuart Childs, Teagasc.. Picture: O’Gorman Photography.

Dairygold milk suppliers Thomas and Christopher Kenny from Mourneabbey, Co. Cork, were declared the Mallow Regional Winners in the 2023 Dairygold Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards. Thomas and Christopher were also the winners of the Grassroots Sustainability Award 2023, a new award which reflects their commitment to sustainability on farm. The awards were presented at an awards ceremony in Springfort Hall, Mallow, Co. Cork.
Christopher and his father, Thomas, manage a 155-acre family farm. The farm is home to 119 cows with impressive productivity, and it has implemented advanced technologies such as heat and rumination collars, energy-saving equipment, and solar panels supplying 24% of its electricity. Biodiversity is nurtured through forestry, mature tree lines, and clover cultivation, reducing the need for nitrogen fertilisers. Their commitment to efficiency and innovation highlights their dedication to ensuring the success of their dairy operation.
As well as renaming the awards this year to include a reference to sustainability in acknowledgement of the huge role it now plays in milk quality, Dairygold also included a Grassroots Sustainability award this year. This award category recognises the work being done by milk suppliers to make improvements to the sustainability of their farm enterprises through the actions implemented as part of Dairygold’s Grassroots Milk Supplier Sustainability Bonus Programme, launched in December 2022. Since its launch, the Grassroots Milk Supplier Sustainability Programme has seen over 93% of Dairygold’s milk supply join the programme and implement the measures set out as part of the bonus criteria.
Speaking about the awards, Dairygold Chairman Seán O’Brien said: “These awards not only highlight the exceptional quality of milk produced by our suppliers but also underscore the importance of sustainability in modern farming. The awards set a very high standard for others to follow.”
Congratulating the winners, Dairygold Interim Chief Executive Michael Harte said: “These awards provide an excellent opportunity for us to reward the efforts of our milk suppliers across the year to produce the best quality milk. It is through the efforts of these suppliers that Dairygold can maintain its high standards. We are proud to celebrate the success of all our award recipients that are leading the way in milk quality and sustainability.”
The awards were based on 2023 milk quality data for all 2,600 Dairygold milk suppliers across counties Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare. A shortlist was drawn up from each of the six Dairygold regions. Eighteen finalists underwent adjudication by Don Crowley, Teagasc Dairy Specialist and Dr. William Burchill, University College Cork.
The judges chose one overall winner, six regional winners, a Grassroots Sustainability winner, and a Special Recognition Award winner.