At Cahill’s Cheese, the milk used in our cheddar is sourced from naturally grass fed Irish Dairy Cows . Only 10% of global milk production originates from grazing based systems. In Ireland we have a warm temperate oceanic climate which is perfect for growing grass. This natural advantage allows Ireland to produce high yields of top quality milk.
Dairy cows in Ireland are usually milked twice a day. In Ireland dairy farming operates on a seasonal grass based system. Irish cows generally give birth in the Spring time and are out on grass grazing for the remainder of their 300 day lactation (weather depending). The main dairy breeds in Ireland are generally Holstein Frisian with a Jersey cross. This breed produce high milk yields and high milk solids which is perfect for cheese production.
All Irish cows are milked in the milking parlour. The most common make of milking parlour is the Herringbone Milking parlour. This milking parlour is a very simple design. The milking machine is positioned in the pit which is the middle of the parlour. There are two aisles running either side which is where the cows are positioned while milking. The farmer milks the cows from the pit by attaching teat cups to the cows teats. The suction from the teat cups extracts the milk which is then pumped into the bulk tank. The milk is stored here and cooled until collection by the Co-Op.
There are huge benefits of grass fed dairy systems for nutritional reasons. Results found from research finds that natural dairy products produced from grass fed Irish cows have significantly greater concentrations of fat, protein (casein and whey), and other beneficial nutrients. This also provides benefits for cheese manufacturers as increased protein and casein levels enhance cheese making properties.
For more information on dairying in Ireland visit https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/dairy/. Teagasc is the main national body for food and agriculture in Ireland. The content on the Teagasc website will provide you with even more information about Irish farming.