Northern Ireland has once again scored a national victory as young dairy farmer, Scott McLean (25), has fought off tough competition to be crowned the winner of this year’s Cogent Futures Programme.
The programme offers a unique opportunity for participants to get their first taste of life as a Sire Analyst as well as providing a comprehensive introduction to genetics.
As part of the competition, Scott and three other short-listed candidates were assessed on their ability to select potential bull mothers and to match these cows to a suitable sire.
Despite not originating from a farming background, Scott’s passion and knowledge for genomics saw him storm to victory during final judging last week.
Praised for the depth of his understanding of Holstein matings and global indexes, Scott pipped the three other finalists at the post and was announced the winner from a strongly fought field.
Scott realised early on that he had a keen interest in animals and took a weekend milking job at the age of thirteen for Bellemont Holsteins, a 300 head herd owned by Norman McCollum. Now 12 years later and Scott’s expertise has seen the herd’s breeding policy gearing almost exclusively towards the use of high ranking genomic sires.
As Herd Manager, Scott ensures that strong emphasis is placed on breeding milky cows with good components and in recent years the Bellemont herd has become renowned on the local show circuit.
Having taken first place in the Futures competition, Scott will now add an exclusive study-tour of Holland to his list of successes. Scott and runner-up Carys Jones will travel with Owain Harries, Cogent’s Genetics Procurement Manager and Andrew Holliday Cogent’s Dairy Sire Specialist, to visit a selection of top herds in the country and to attend the well-known Tulip Holstein Sale in IJsselhallen.
Scott will also receive a package of elite quality Holstein embryos for use within the Bellemont herd.
“I am absolutely delighted to be this year’s Cogent Futures winner,” states Scott. “Taking part in this contest has allowed me to broaden my horizons as well as my ambitions.
“I have gained a huge amount of knowledge and it’s really given me an insight into the incredible job that Cogent’s genetics team does on a day-to-day basis.”