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How this blocklayer in the boom built up a champion dairy herd from scratch

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New start: Edward and Breda Donovan, winners of the 2018 Dairygold Milk Quality Awards, with their children Caoimhe and Aoife, and Dairygold milk advisor Maeve O’Connor on their farm at Ballybrannagh, Cloyne, Co Cork. Edward started milking in January 2014 as a new entrant to dairying and  currently milks 203 cows from a grazing platform of 79ha.  Photo: O’Gorman Photography.

New start: Edward and Breda Donovan, winners of the 2018 Dairygold Milk Quality Awards, with their children Caoimhe and Aoife, and Dairygold milk advisor Maeve O’Connor on their farm at Ballybrannagh, Cloyne, Co Cork. Edward started milking in January 2014 as a new entrant to dairying and currently milks 203 cows from a grazing platform of 79ha. Photo: O’Gorman Photography.

New start: Edward and Breda Donovan, winners of the 2018 Dairygold Milk Quality Awards, with their children Caoimhe and Aoife, and Dairygold milk advisor Maeve O’Connor on their farm at Ballybrannagh, Cloyne, Co Cork. Edward started milking in January 2014 as a new entrant to dairying and currently milks 203 cows from a grazing platform of 79ha. Photo: O’Gorman Photography.

'Overwhelmed is something I never got; tired yes, but never overwhelmed." That's according to the overall winner of the latest Dairygold Milk Quality Awards, Edward Donovan, who is reflecting on him transforming the family tillage farm in Cloyne, Co Cork into a dairy operation as a new entrant in 2014.

During the Celtic Tiger years, Edward worked in construction and subsequently became a self-employed blocklayer which he says was "fine while it lasted but finished up quite quickly".

However, an already completed degree in agriculture meant he was able to take up a managerial position at Goldcrop in Killavullen, in north Cork.


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