Illustrations: Banville family


Care and constancy key to quality milk

The secret to the Banville family’s on-farm success can be summed up in one word: Diligence. While the word itself does little to describe just how thorough they are when it comes to hygiene and herd health, the many trophies they’ve collected over the years are proof that what they’re doing works.

Patrick and Carmel Banville have been dairy farming since they took over Patrick’s parents’ farm in 1990. The Banvilles have been on the farm since 1919 when Patrick’s grandfather married into a dairying family, making Patrick and Carmel the third generation. The couple has three children, John (21), Brian (18), and Orla (16). Their hope is that they will one day take over the farm.

The Banvilles milk 140 Holstein-Friesian cows and raise 40 replacement heifers in County Wexford in the southeast of Ireland. Theirs is a pedigreed herd. They deliver approximately 836,737 litres of milk to dairy cooperative Glanbia Ireland. Butterfat averages 4.23%, and protein 3.52%.

Every year, Ireland’s National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold single out farm families that attain the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming with a focus on milk quality, animal welfare and sustainable farming practices. This year, they selected 12 families from eight counties to receive the Quality Milk Award, an award they’ve now dubbed the ‘Oscars of the Dairy World’. The Banvilles won Best Milk Quality and were overall runners up.

Nominated by Glanbia Ireland, the Banvilles were an obvious choice. Awards are not new to the family. Patrick’s father won similar quality milk awards from Wexford Creamery where they delivered their milk when they were farming. Since 2014, they’ve received the Teagasc Animal Health Award five times. They’ve also received the Cell Check award, given to those farming families who achieve less than 73,000 SCC annually. Of the 18,000 dairy farmers in Ireland, only about 500 receive this award each year.

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