Stories from Idaho, PWE Scholarship Winner – Michael Kean

39032352_220127282014500_1153770112835125248_n I arrived at 4 Bros, Idaho on June 1st to begin eleven weeks of placement. I had been given an idea of what to expect when I arrived however, I don’t think anything can prepare you for your first day of work on a farm with over 25,000 cattle. In total there were approximately 12,500 milking cows on the dairy, consisting predominately of Holstein Friesian and a small number of Jerseys and Jersey X, and with milking continuing all year long the maternity ward was always in full swing with an average of 30-40 calves born every day of the year.
During my time on the farm I got to experience every aspect of the dairy industry in detail and spent time working in each section of the farm. My jobs revolved predominantly around animal health, working with both sick calves and in the hospital-barn helping treat cows with e-coli/mastitis and milk fever. I spent time working with the farms animal nutritionist, vets and farm manager and I also spent time milking. My days usually consisted of a 5am-3pm shift or an 8am-5pm shift.
The social side of my placement was beyond anything I expected, and I was wrong to think that Idaho may be a boring place. Every week there was always something to look forward to and with every weekend off it was easy to organise road trips and other activities with the other UCD students staying in the area. From spending a weekend in Park City Utah, and visiting the Olympic Park, to simple things such as attending a rodeo, swimming, hiking and kayaking, there was no shortage of activities. At the end of my placement, myself and the other UCD students travelled to places such as Vancouver, San Francisco and San Diego.
It goes without saying that my time working in Idaho was the best experience of my life so far and I was extremely sad to leave. The experience and knowledge I gained from working on 4 Bros dairy is something that will stand to me for life.
I want to say a huge thank you to the Agricultural Science Association Ireland and the Irish Farmers Journal for helping make it possible for me to travel abroad for my work placement. I look forward to applying the knowledge gained during my placement to my final year of Animal Science in UCD.
Submitted by:  Michael Kean

Updated: 10th January 2019 — 12:31 pm