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Irish Grass-Fed Cows

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Over 1/2 of the land in Ireland is dedicated to grow grass
The majority of an Irish cow’s diet is from rich, natural grass and includes a small amount of supplementary feed for health and well-being of the animal.
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Kerrygold farmers use a rotation planner to divide the farm into paddocks.

They graze in the fields where the grass has reached the optimum height to support milk production.

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Kerrygold farmers move the cows from paddock to paddock according to their grazing plan to ensure their cows are eating the highest quality grass possible.

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During the summer months, Kerrygold farmers harvest high quality surplus grass to feed to their cows over the winter. This means Kerrygold cows are grass-fed all year round.

This nutritious summer grass can be stored in three ways:

SILAGE

Which has the highest moisture content and most closely replicates fresh grass (over 40% moisture)

HAYLAGE

A hybrid of silage and hay, which has a moisture content of (15-40%)

hay

A dryer form of grass that is good for the digestive development of calves and younger cows

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Why do Kerrygold cows enjoy grass all year round?

The weather.

Quite simply, we have the perfect weather to grow huge amounts of grass. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, it is never too hot, never too cold, and there’s plenty of rain, perfect for supporting longer grazing seasons and an abundance of high-quality grass.

GRASS-FED

Ireland’s climate is perfect for growing grass. That’s good news for cows, and good news for us.

1 Coming soon
2 Kerrygold cows graze outdoors for up to 300 days of the year.
3 Kerrygold farmers plan herd movements to ensure their cows always eat the highest quality grass.
4 Kerrygold farmers harvest surplus summer grass to feed their cows over the winter.
5 Ireland has the perfect weather to grow grass.
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Milk yield across countries

Compared to other countries, Kerrygold cows are farmed in less intensive ways. Our grass-based dairy system and tradition of family-owned farms places a priority on animal welfare.

OUR COWS

Farmers say “If you look after a cow, she’ll look after you.” We agree. Kerrygold insists on the highest standards of animal welfare because it’s the right thing to do.

1 Coming soon
2 Most of our cows are Holstein Friesians.
3 Animal welfare is our priority, in Ireland our farming methods are less intensive than other countries
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To ensure the very highest quality and safety standards for Kerrygold products, a milk sample is taken at collection and tested for

  • Butterfat
  • Protein
  • Lactose
  • Total Bacteria Count
  • Somatic Cell Count
  • Urea
Every month the milk is also tested for:
  • Thermoduric Bacteria

THE MILK

From cow to your morning toast, you can be sure the milk for Kerrygold products has been rigorously tested for quality and safety

1 Kerrygold cows are milked twice a day
2 At collection, a milk sample is taken and tested for quality and safety.
3 The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards recognise excellence in dairy farming.
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supply milk to

Co-ops are owned by farmers, not corporates, and always act in the best interests of their members.

They collect milk from the farms and ensure every farmer is paid an equitable price

Every year co-ops nominate one farmer for the Quality Milk Awards, run by Kerrygold and the NDC.

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The Co-op Milk Advisor

Each co-op provides a milk advisor to the farmer, who can provide expert insight to help farmers optimise nutrition for their herd and improve milk quality.

IRISH CO-OPS

Cooperatives can help farmers benefit from economies of scale and tap into a wider pool of support and knowhow

1 14,000 co-op farmers supply milk to Kerrygold.
2 Coming soon.
3 Co-op milk advisors work with farmers to improve milk quality
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Family Farms

A tradition that lives and breathes. Custodians of our beautiful countryside across the generations.

1 99% of farms in Ireland are family-owned.
2 Coming soon.
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sdas

Ireland’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) sets high standards for

  • Animal health and welfare
  • Hygiene
  • Land management
  • Biosecurity
  • Greenhouse gas emissions

SDAS sets out the requirements for best practice in Irish dairy farms and provides a means of measuring and improving the performance of every participating farmer.

Ireland is the only country in the world that has a scheme of its kind.

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Hedgerows

Kerrygold farmers are encouraged to preserve and manage hedgerows between fields.

Hedgerows provide food, shelter, corridors of movement, nest and hibernation sites for many of our native flora and fauna and are vital to biodiversity.

Kerrygold farmers are custodians not just of our land, but also our history and culture. Rich in plant and animal species, older hedgerows along town boundaries often date from medieval times while ancient bank-and-ditch formations can originate from as early as the Neolithic and Bronze Ages (c3,500-700 BC).

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water

We’re proud to be part of a highly sustainable grass-based dairy system.

Ireland is the most carbon-efficient milk producer in the EU and our abundant rainfall means our farms are naturally irrigated, so we rank among the lowest on the water stress index*.

* Yale University

The Sustainable Dairy Assurance scheme measures farmers on how they are minimising water usage – such as via rainwater collection, and minimising potential sources of water loss.

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Sustainability

It’s important to us to do the right thing and that means caring for our animals and minimising our impact on the environment

1 Ireland has a unique Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, the only one of its kind in the world
2 Kerrygold farmers are encouraged to protect hedgerows which provide food and water for our native flora and faunas
3 Ireland’s farmland is naturally irrigated, making it the most carbon-efficient milk producer in the EU.
4 Coming soon