Drinagh Co-op supplier Ian Kingston of Dunmanway, Co Cork, took home the top award at the 2022 Carbery milk quality and sustainability awards.

The Kingston family milks 181 cows stocked across a 200-acre milking platform, producing an average of 430kg solids per cow.

The farm is one of the first monitor farmers accepted into the Carbery-Teagasc joint programme in 1997 and has been involved in Teagasc Moorepark research trials involving cow fertility.

“I am always tracking and reading up on what's happening and keeping up with the latest thinking to do the job right,” the dairy farmer commented.

New approaches

“I tend to be early in trialing new approaches because I trust the advice that I get and that we are never asked to try what won't work. I also know my ground very well and I know what will work for me.”

Kingston is a member of Carbery greener dairy farmers group and uses protected urea and low emissions slurry spreading on-farm.

“Farmers are out there working with nature every day and I don’t know any who are not trying to do their best,” Kingston continued.

“I think most new ideas are embraced and farmers will always try new ideas if they have confidence in them.”

Family farming

Carbery CEO Jason Hawkins stated that the awards recognise the suppliers with the highest standards and promote the family farm model.

“It’s a great opportunity every year to meet and recognise some of our farmer shareholders who are ambassadors for the sector and for what we do,” Hawkins said.

“Promoting and protecting Irish family farming will always be the key objective of Carbery and being able to recognise farmers of the calibre of this year’s winner, in Ian, and finalists, means that we can have confidence in both our quality credentials, and our reputation for sustainable farming.”

Bandon Co-op finalists

  • Mícheál and Martina Dullea of Keelnameela, Bandon, Co Cork (winners).
  • Anthony Dempsey of Ballymountain, Innishannon, Co Cork.
  • Éibhlín and Michael Kiely of Ballyvrin, Kinsale, Co Cork.
  • Barryroe Co-op finalists

    Michael Coleman of Carrigeen, Butlerstown, Co Cork (winner).

  • Laurence, Denis and Bridget Keohane of Ballintemple, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
  • Patrick O’Brien of Brownstown, Ballinspittle, Co Cork.
  • Drinagh Co-op finalists

  • Ian Kingston of Sillertane, Dunmanway, Co Cork (overall award winner).
  • Sam Kingston of Bawnahow, Drimoleague, Co Cork.
  • Timothy and Shane McCarthy of Dromusta West, Drimoleague, Co Cork.
  • Lisavaird Co-op finalists

  • Kevin Collins of Caruvouler, Ballineen, Co Cork (winner).
  • Stanley Helen of Crohane, Ballinscarthy, Co Cork.
  • Richard and Michael White of Tullineaskey, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
  • Highest standards

    Carbery Group chair Cormac O’Keeffe commented that the four co-ops’ awards allow farmers to show off the standards they maintain in producing milk and allow for the sharing of family farms’ stories.

    “The story of Irish family farming, is about the highest quality milk, grass-fed, healthy cows and looking after land handed down through families and across generations,” O’Keeffe said.

    “Nowhere is this more evident than in our annual awards, where we get to meet and reward the farmer suppliers, who, with their families, are working hard every single day to produce high quality milk, in the most sustainable way possible.

    “These are the standards and the story we want to show to the world about Irish dairy,” he said.