Monday 11 December 2017

From generation to generation – The Crotty family farm, Co. Clare

One of the 14 finalists in the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

Dairy farmer Patrick Crotty farms Ireland’s most westerly dairy farm on the Loop Head Peninsula in Co. Clare. He’s passionate about his product and is one of 14 finalists shortlisted for this year’s National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards which sets out to find and celebrate the top quality milk farmers in Ireland.   

Irish milk has a unique heritage like no other that is now recognised worldwide. This year’s awards celebrate the heritage that makes Irish milk unique and each finalist has been described as “a leader in their industry”.

Irish farming is more than just a business. It’s a way of life. Irish farmers learn their craft from their parents and grandparents before them – just like Patrick Crotty continues to do and his son, who now also loves spending time on the farm. 

Fourteen finalists have now been shortlisted for the top award recognising excellence in dairy farming. The farms span the country and

represent 11 co-ops and 10 counties.

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NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards Patrick and Shona Crotty with their son Conor Crotty, Crotty Family Farm, Loop Head, Kilbaha South, Co. Clare. Picture Clare Keogh

Ireland’s most westerly dairy farm in Ireland is one of those shortlisted for the award this year. Patrick Crotty and his wife Shona farm here on the Loop Head peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

“The welfare of the dairy cow is where the great product starts”, explains Patrick. He points out that attention to detail is always his main priority.

“We take great pride in being the most Westerly dairy farm overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way.”  The Crottys farm 40 hectares at Kilbaha South, Kilrush, with a herd of 70 with an average herd yield of 6,346 and average monthly milk supply of 37,062.  Their butterfat percentage is 4.04% with protein percentage of 3.49 and lactose percentage of 4.82.

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NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards Martin Crotty and his grandson Conor Crotty, Crotty Family Farm, Loop Head, Kilbaha South, Co. Clare. Picture Clare Keogh

Next Generation Coming Through

The next generation is already coming through with son Conor, who loves spending a lot of time with his grandfather Martin on the farm.  “When it comes to farming, it is really important to support rural communities and keep younger generations involved as much as possible”

Each of the finalists have been visited by the judges over the past two months and have undergone a rigorous 12-month scrutiny. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Dublin on October 4th. 

The judging panel for the 2017 awards are Professor Pat Wall from UCD; Dr. David Gleeson from Teagasc and Dr. Jack Kennedy, Dairy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. Irish chef and food writer Clodagh McKenna is Quality Milk Awards Ambassador. 

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NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards Patrick Crotty, Crotty Family Farm, Loop Head, Kilbaha South, Co. Clare. Picture Clare Keogh

Who will take the top prize this year?

So where is the best milk in Ireland produced? Who will take the prize this year? In addition to the Crotty farm the other finalists include David and Kathleen Boland from Horseleap, Moate, Co. Westmeath; Michael and Marguerite Crowley, Bauraville Upper, Skibbereen, Co. Cork; Gerard and Kathleen Doyle and family Tullahought, Piltown Co Kilkenny.; Declan and Alison Finn, Newtown, Charleville, Co. Cork; Sean and Mary Hegarty, Whites Cross, Co. Cork; Padraig, John and Gertrude Keane, Kilcormac, Co. Offaly; Sean and Marie Lynch, Moville, Co. Donegal; John, Niall and Carol Mason, Ballyseedy, Tralee, Co. Kerry; Eamonn and Patricia McMahon, Stranooden, Co. Monaghan; Norman and Elma Perrott, Bandon, Co. Cork; Robert and Shirley Shannon, Clonakilty, Co. Cork; Philip, Nicky and Dolores Thornton, Cashel, Co. Tipperary and John and Maria Walsh, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.

Dairy co-operatives throughout the country were invited to nominate their top suppliers for the awards. The farms nominated for the annual awards had a detailed assessment by an expert judging panel based on milk quality test results and technical reports spanning a full 12 month period in order to select a short-list of finalists.

“The shortlisted farms were put through intensive scrutiny.  This involved a rigorous analysis of milk quality reports plus technical data which spanned 12 months.  This included an inspection of their farms by the judges,” explains Professor Pat Wall.  “This gave us insights in to the farm’s practices in areas such as milking routine, animal welfare and sustainability”.

“All finalists demonstrated excellent standards in food production.  They are leaders in their industry and showcase the utmost standards in sustainability, hygiene, animal welfare and quality”.

Go to www.qualitymilkawards.ie to meet the 2017 National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Finalists and to find out more about the awards and read more about each finalist.

 

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