Dairy master - combining old school approach with latest technology
Kieran O'Sullivan combines an old school approach to milking with the latest dairy technology
Kieran O'Sullivan is one farmer that needs no reminding of the value of a low SCC. With a herd average of just 40,000 at the moment, and a meticulous cleaning regime, he was always going to be a good candidate for the NDC Kerrygold Quality milk award.
The €5,000 cheque that came with the top spot in last year's competition is in addition to the €20 in bonuses that every cow in the 150-strong herd earns annually from its local Drinagh co-op.
"It's actually easier to keep the cell count under 100,000 than it is getting there in the first place," says the modest Cork man.
Farming at Goleen on exposed rocky land overlooking Dunmanus bay, Mr O'Sullivan will be hosting an open day next week, June 17.
He sticks to the motto that the milking routine is one that can't be rushed.
"You hear all these lads talk about how many cows they can milk in an hour, but I really believe that you've got to keep an eye on the cows, and you can't do that if the milking is rushed. It's not a race.
"Generally we spend about an hour and a quarter in the parlour for each milking. I like to have two people on the job, so I usually have my wife Catherine or my son Cathal helping me.
"We installed an 18 unit Dairymaster swingover parlour in 2010 that has cluster cleanse built in. I think that's a great job because it automatically flushes every cluster with two litres of water with the 0.3pc acid.