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Thursday 18 January 2018

Meet the sixth generation Tipperary farmers who've been crowned 2017 National Quality Milk Award winners

The Walsh Family, the Walsh Family Farm, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture Clare Keogh
The Walsh Family, the Walsh Family Farm, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture Clare Keogh
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The country’s top prize for best quality milk has been awarded to John and Maria Walsh, from Co Tipperary who supply their milk to Dairygold Co-op. 

John and Maria Walsh have three children; Brendan, Claire and Helena. They are the 6th generation of farmers to farm at Ballylomasna, Ballylooby, Cahir and take great pride in their work.

Attention to detail is paramount and all farm decisions are discussed as a family on a Saturday evening around the dinner table. Farm safety is key and something they are very passionate about.

The Walsh’s milk 104 cows on 92ha and have an average monthly supply of milk of over 52,000L.

John Walsh at work in the milking parlour. Picture Clare Keogh
John Walsh at work in the milking parlour. Picture Clare Keogh

Key farm stats

  • Farm size: 92ha
  • Herd size: 104
  • Herd yield: 5,800L
  • Avg monthy milk supply 52,201
  • Avg TBC: 7
  • Avg SCC: 107
  • Butterfat %: 4.34
  • Protein %: 3.61
  • Lactose %: 4.91

The winners were announced in Dublin today with presentations to 14 of Ireland’s top dairy farms by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

John Walsh with his daughters Helena and Claire Walsh. Picture Clare Keogh
John Walsh with his daughters Helena and Claire Walsh. Picture Clare Keogh

The Walsh’s were accompanied by their family at the ceremony and received a prize of €5,000 and the coveted NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup.

What it takes to win

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Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc spoke on behalf of the national judging panel and thanked the farmers and co-ops for participating in the national awards.

“When we visit the short-listed farms every year as judges we see at first hand the genuine pride of Irish farmers.

John and Maria Walsh with their three children, Claire and Helena and Brendan Walsh of Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture: Clare Keogh
John and Maria Walsh with their three children, Claire and Helena and Brendan Walsh of Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture: Clare Keogh

“Twenty-two farms were nominated and 14 were short listed for a farm visit. These farms were located in 9 different counties from west Cork to Donegal.

“Three of the key milk quality parameters assessed in the shortlisting process are TBC; SCC and protein percentage.

The Walsh Family Farm, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture Clare Keogh
The Walsh Family Farm, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Picture Clare Keogh

“The milk quality standards being achieved on these nominated farms are getting higher each year. What stands out is dedication to doing things right; a thirst for sharing knowledge and learning about ways to improve how things are done; and a heartfelt wish to carry on the tradition of the family farm, passing on the farm as good as, or better than it was before to the next generation.”

Speaking at the event, Minister Creed said Irish farming is more than just a business; it is a way of life.

John Walsh and his award-winning herd. Picture Clare Keogh
John Walsh and his award-winning herd. Picture Clare Keogh

“Irish farmers learn their craft from their parents and grandparents before them. It is no accident that Irish dairy products are regarded as the best in the world.

“Irish farmers and their family’s commitment to delivering world class quality milk, day in day out, coupled with our grass based farming

Picture Clare Keogh
Picture Clare Keogh

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