Ariadne Kidson, our technical sales manager in Ireland, recently hosted a work experience student for a week, from 3rd to 8th April. Georgia Owen is 18 and is from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. She is currently taking AS Levels in Biology and Chemistry and an A level in English Literature. She aims to become a fully qualified veterinarian and is planning to apply to the Royal Veterinary College London around this time next year.
Georgia and Ariadne had an activity packed week, visiting farms with many different farming systems. On the Monday, Georgia spent the day in a 19,000 pig finishing unit, where the life cycle from birth to sale was explained and she had the chance to assist with AI, vaccinating, cleaning and organisation at the piggery.
Tuesday was a cattle-orientated day, beginning with a short tour of dairy and calf pens and then moving on to the heifers. As the mating season is just starting, there was interesting work going on including synchronisation for embryo transfer and protocols for heat detection, so Georgia was able to get a hands-on understanding of all the methods being used to try and tighten the timings for the calving period next year.
Wednesday saw the pair touring rural Ireland to drop product at two Vet practices and an AI stud, and on Thursday visiting a customer who had previously sought technical advice about a severe cell count issue in their herd, to re-stock product and check that all was well.
The visit gave Georgia the opportunity to see a smaller dairy farm on high ground, a system which is notoriously difficult to manage. She helped milk 270 cows and also assisted with tail painting: a heat detection method used so that cows can be inseminated when they are on heat.
On Friday they travelled to Galway to assist a veterinarian and reproductive specialist with flushing Simental beef cattle, to remove fertilised embryos to be re-inserted into recipient animals. This is a technically difficult process, but one which can be extremely beneficial both economically and genetically, as four years of genetic progress can potentially be gained in one.
“Overall, the week was highly valuable to both of us”, said Ariadne. “Georgia gained huge insight into farming life and understanding of cattle and their behaviour. She was a delight to work alongside as she always asked questions so that she knew exactly what was going on. She threw herself in with an eagerness to learn and listened to instruction when we were working with the larger animals, which kept everyone safe which is crucial when working with any livestock. This experience has been invaluable to her and there is no doubt that she will make a brilliant vet in a few years time”.