The Keating family farm initially began as a 10-cow operation in 1914 and John now milks 160 cows every year. His wife Yvonne, children Chloe and Aimee and mother Cait are also all actively involved in the day to day running of the farm.
Speaking after receiving the award last week, John noted;
‘Being nominated for the award has been a great experience for the family and especially for our girls to see another side of farming life. Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is something we work hard at every day on farm and it is not always easy and so we are absolutely delighted to be recognised for that’.
In 2017 The Keatings’ supplied 810,589 litres of milk to Glanbia Ireland, with an average of 7.5, average SCC of 61, Butterfat 3.98% and Protein 3.55%. The farm is situated on the cliff edge and has experienced some unusual extreme weather this year – with snow drifts in spring time and drought conditions last summer.
The focus on their farm is to have healthy cows and to work and farm the land in a sustainable fashion. Johns’ farm is unique, in that it is captured in a “Tearmann Sanctuary” and is home to a vast variety of birdlife including a rare Irish bird known as the Chough. It is a haven for Bird Watch Ireland and other avid bird enthusiasts. Alongside this there are 20 acres of forestry, with plenty of bio-diversity.
John notes that simply watching cows coming in at milking time is key to his system.
‘I can see if there are problems if they are slower or falling behind at the end of milking. I review bulk milk SCC every single day along with milk records and then act on those results. My system is simple – all suspect or troubled cows are milked separately and last. If cows are found to be not responsive to treatment they are removed from the herd, which eliminates the risk of cross transfer.’
Glanbia Chairman Martin Keane who attended the Awards ceremony congratulated John on behalf of the Board and Management of Glanbia Ireland and said that he was ‘delighted to see family farming represented so well at the awards by the Keatings’ and all the nominees. Family farming, hard work and passion is what underpins everything that consumers value in dairy products and it’s nice to see this recognised at this level’, he said.
Image: MC at the NDC Awards Damien O’Reilly, RTE CountryWide pictured with the Keating Family and guests. Back row (l – r) Paul Power (Glanbia Agribusiness) Seamus Healy, Tom Barron. Front row (l-r) Tomas O’Curraoin, Cait Keating, Aimee, Yvonne, Chloe and John Keating, Damien O’Reilly, Pat Nugent.