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October

15

Scott and Carys look to the Future

Two young farmers from Northern Ireland and South Wales are celebrating this week after being named as winner and runner-up in this year's Cogent Futures Programme.

Scott McLean (25) from County Antrim, Northern Ireland fought off tough competition to be crowned the winner while runner-up Carys Jones (23) from Monmouthshire, South Wales made history in this year's contest as the very first female finalist.


The programme, now in its fifth year, 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, four short-listed candidates Tom Hull from Lancashire, Andrew Patterson from Northern Ireland as well as Scott and Carys were assessed on their ability to select potential bull mothers and to match these cows to a suitable sire.

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. It was his passion and knowledge for genomics that 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.

Having taken the top spots in the competition, Scott and Carys will now add an exclusive study-tour of Holland to their list of successes. Both 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."

"My focus now is to build up my own livestock and the next stage of the competition will benefit me tremendously, as I will get the opportunity to see some of the worlds' best bred cows in Holland.  I also am excited to have won a package of embryos which I hope to use as part of the breeding programme in my own expanding herd."

Speaking of her success, Carys said: "The Futures competition has given me an invaluable insight into how bulls are selected and sourced for breeding and has been thoroughly enjoyable to participate in from start to finish. The next stage of the competition is going to be the most exciting by far, as I will have the opportunity to attend the HHH show and Tulip Sale. I am looking forward to seeing some outstanding Holstein cows in the National Show and learning as much as possible about Dutch genetics. You never know, I might even make the odd purchase or two!"

"We received some excellent applications from a range of strong candidates in this year's Futures Programme," explains Cogent's Owain Harries. "All four participants showed a great passion for pedigree cattle breeding but what set Scott and Carys apart from the other finalists was their all-round knowledge and logical, well thought out matings. Both Scott and Carys have a fantastic understanding of genomics and I am confident that they have a very bright future ahead of them in dairy cattle breeding."