In this special Focus supplement for the NDC/Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards, we profile the 10 dairy farming families who have been shortlisted in this year’s competition.

Given the space available, it is not possible to detail all the elements of each dairy business, so in each report we focus on various elements that make the particular farm in question stand out from the rest.

Watch videos from all the finalists' farms below:

For all farms, we show the somatic cell count (SCC) result for each month of 2015.

This is but one element that makes up a quality milk supplier. It is a package deal – you need a good plant washing routine, the right chemicals, top-class results for SCC and TBC and a knowledge and understanding about what and how you are operating.

For this competition, we use the results that they have been paid on by their milk processor in 2015 and which have put them in the shortlist as qualifiers for the competition.

Some of the farmers profiled have invested in new equipment while some are still using the same milking machine they have used for the last 10 to 20 years – all are producing top-quality milk.

As you will see in the various reports, there are big and small herds. Good quality milk is no longer only possible by those milking 30 and 40 cows.

Herds with 200 and 300 cows can deliver consistent quality once management is effective and the principles are in place to deliver.

The objective of this competition is to acknowledge dairy farmers who are achieving the highest milk quality in Ireland and to promote milk quality nationally and internationally. Irish farmers can match the best in the world on milk quality and they can do it in an environmentally and sustainable manner.

Our grassland production system is unique and gaining traction worldwide as a premium product. The farmer needs to get a fair share of this premium and it can’t be passed back to the multinationals with little or no premium paid to the farmer.

Read Profiles of all the finalists

Nicky and Philip Thornton, Co Tipperary

Tom and Moya Power, Co Waterford

Arthur O'Leary, Co Limerick

Sean Moher, Co Cork

Ian and David Lamberton, Co Donegal

Tim and Breda Hurley, Co Cork

Gary Horan, Co Tipperary

Thomas Griffin, Co Cork

James and Derry Byrne, Co Wexford

John, Margaret and Denis O’Dwyer, Co Tipperary