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Virtual Farm Walk on Award Winning Dairy Farm

The Hearne family, who farm at Ballinacurra, Rathgormack, Co. Waterford, were the 2019 National Winners of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. A ‘Virtual Farm Walk’ webinar will take place on this award winning farm on Tuesday, 30 June this year.

Virtual Farm Walk on Award Winning Dairy Farm

The Hearne family, 2019 National Winners of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

This online event is organised by Teagasc, with the support of Glanbia Ireland, the National Dairy Council and Ornua, and celebrates the excellence of Irish dairy farming highlighted annually by the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

A ‘Virtual Farm Walk’ webinar will take place from the Hearne family farm at 11.00am on Tuesday 30th June. This combined with a stream of posts through social media platforms, will highlight the best practices adopted on the Hearne family farm, which make Kieran and Ann’s farm the success it is today.

Kieran Hearne is a second-generation farmer and has been farming since 1990. The family have expanded their farm in a sustainable manner to make it more profitable and continue to produce top quality milk.  Both he and his wife, Ann, come from generations of farmers, so it’s really in the blood and they love a job that keeps all the family together.  Kieran and Ann milked 190 cows on their 82 hectares farm, supplying 1.1 million litres of milk to Glanbia Ireland in 2019.

Speaking in advance of the ‘Virtual Farm Walk’, Kieran said; “I love dairy farming because it allows me to combine farming with family life, as we live and work on the farm.” On the webinar at 11am, all dairy farmers will have an opportunity to listen to Kieran discuss his farm and the steps he has taken over the years to produce high quality milk while caring for the environment, and providing a livelihood for his family.  

Kieran’s Teagasc Advisor, Seamus Kearney, and Glanbia Ireland Milk Quality Manager, Brendan Walsh, will discuss how this farm is producing high quality milk with low SCC, low TBC, low thermoduric levels and zero residues. There will also be a strong focus on how this family is farming with the environment, through hedgerow management to improve biodiversity, by using low emissions slurry application, selecting protected urea as the fertiliser type, and using high EBI bulls in their breeding strategy.  

Tom O Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said; “Covid-19 restrictions have prevented us from organising a farm walk on the Hearne farm at this time.  However, the webinar will allow dairy farm families hear the types of achievable steps which can raise both quality standards and overall farm performance from a winning farmer.”

Fionnuala Malone, Milk Quality & Compliance Manager at Glanbia Ireland is looking forward to the new virtual format for the national milk quality farm event this year. “The team at Glanbia Ireland are delighted to see the Hearne family farm recognised for milk quality excellence. They are continuously innovating, adopting new practices, research and processes to ensure they deliver the highest quality using the best methods. Their farm is an outstanding example of everything that underpins Irelands’ Dairy Industry and it is this environmentally, family friendly approach to dairying that has been Ireland’s strong point over the years. Families farming together through generations and striving to do things differently and improve each year, and yet not be afraid to change. Thank you to Kieran, Ann and the wider Hearne family for opening up their farm for this virtual event.”

The webinar will mark the 10th anniversary of the Quality Milk Awards, and the Hearne family are the tenth family to be overall winners.