The farm:

I come from a mixed suckler and sheep farm in Co Clare. I am currently working with a contractor in Suffolk, southeast England.

We are busy making pit silage for dairy herds at moment, but, later in the summer, the focus will turn towards the harvest.

I am also soon due to graduate from UCD with a degree in animal and crop production.

Farming interest:

I have more of an interest in dairy than in any other farming enterprise. Dairying is a lot more target-based than drystock farming.

If you make changes to a dairy production system, you will see the results in the milk tank straight away.

I would even prefer the way the daily schedule is more structured in dairying than in suckling, for example.

Animal nutrition:

My interest in animal nutrition grew while completing classes on the subject in UCD. It is an area where the theoretical and practical elements complement each other.

You can read about metabolic disease and see the same condition play out in reality on a farm.

The relevance of animal nutrition will also only grow as environmental issues continue to remain at the fore of agriculture.

Future plans:

There is an animal nutrition masters in Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, that I am thinking of doing after graduating.

The experience I gained in this segment of animal production over my work placement definitely had a bearing on my consideration to undertake this study.

Work placement:

I undertook eight months of work experience in the third year of my course. I was lucky to secure varied placements over the pandemic.

I worked alongside a ruminant nutritionist, travelling from farm to farm and assessing dairy herd performance, before undertaking a few weeks with a liquid nitrogen fertiliser company.

These widely differing placements helped me to gain a bigger picture of the agricultural sector as a whole.