Niall Mason is the fourth generation farming in Ballinduganig, Co Kerry.

He farms alongside his wife, Deirdre, and his parents, John and Carol. Niall and Deirdre have a young son, Freddie. Niall spent 15 years in Australia and came home in 2013.

He went into partnership with his parents John and Carol in 2016 and took over the running of the farm in 2022 with Deirdre.

John and Carol are still very active on the farm and Deirdre looks after the paperwork. The Masons are not strangers to the NDC Quality Milk Awards as they were previously shortlisted in 2017. This shows that they continually produce high-quality milk, with an average TBC of 7 and SCC of 91 for 2022.

There has been a lot of investment on the farm with drafting gates, a new milk parlour and a bulk tank in 2017.

Niall has a great interest in new technologies to save time and labour and make the farm more efficient.

The Masons have invested in cow collars, automatic drafting gates and, to improve sustainability, have also recently installed a heat recovery system in the parlour and replaced lights with LED lighting. An automatic milking machine wash is used.

Hot water temperature of 75OC, with a 53OC finish temperature, is used every morning and cold water used in the evening. The water is heated with the help of the heat exchange unit. The detergent solution used is DeLaval CFD100 (1.1 litres) and it is not recycled for other washes.

A descale wash is used every second morning using one litre of Opticid. The bulk tank is cleaned using Liquid Gold CF detergent and Dairymaster acid descaler.

There is still a small beef enterprise on the farm and along with using sexed semen for replacement heifers, Niall focuses on using good beef AI.

Niall uses the World Wide Sires Programme and focuses on kilos of milk solids, health and stature in the breeding programme.

Improving soil fertility and grassland management have been a focus for Niall and he is part of a grass group since 2017.

Soil is sampled every two years and results are used to allocate slurry, fertiliser and lime.

Eighty tonnes of lime were spread on the farm in 2022. Niall is a member of Kerry Grass Group and participates in GLAS and ACRES environmental schemes.

Cow Manager heat detection aids are used for monitoring health, breeding and nutrition.

There were only four quarters treated for mastitis in 2022.