David Magee M. Agr. Science may only be 27-years-old, but he holds an undergraduate, a Master’s degree, is the Ruminant Nutritionist with Kiernan Milling and is the owner of a pedigree cattle herd.
The Cornacrum, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan native hails from a commercial suckler farm comprising of 50 cows; all progeny are finished on-farm, with bulls slaughtered at approximately 18/19 months, while heifers are killed when they reach between 21/22 months of age.
With strong suckler farming blood, David has always been interested in pedigree cattle breeding, but he chose to prioritize his third-level studies in order to carve out a progressive career path.
“My uncle always had a few pedigree cows and in 2006, I travelled to France as part of a trip organised by Kevin Foley. We visited several farms over the course of a few days and ever since then pedigree Charolais have been close to my heart.” David Magee told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
David completed an undergraduate degree in Animal and Crop Production Science at University College Dublin (UCD) in 2013.
He then progressed to undertake a Master’s in “Feeding value of by-product feedstuffs offered to beef cattle as a supplement to grass silage or ab-libitum” under the Irish Grain and Feed Association and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in September-2014.
David's supervisor Dr. Mark McGee encouraged him to develop a high level of technical expertise to enhance his career opportunities.
David finished his Master’s degree at Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath in May-2015 and immediately moved into the corporate world as Kiernan Milling’s Ruminant Nutritionist at the tender age of 24.
David’s striking passion for agriculture and technical ability was also recognised by Dr. Padraig O’Kiely who encouraged him at the beginning of his career.
He reminded him of the important link that exists between education and agriculture.
“I remember Dr. Padraig O’Kiely saying how happy he was to see that a progressive company like Kiernan Milling can recognise potential that young people like myself had in the sector, as at the tender age of 24, I was going to be the youngest in-house nutritionist in the country.”
The work that David conducted during his Master's laid the foundation for one of the most progressive projects that he was involved in at Kiernan Milling; he was instrumental in converting the entire ruminant formulations in Kiernan Milling from Metabolisable Energy basis to a Net Energy basis.
David is now at the helm of the company’s ruminant formulation, while he also gives technical support to reps/customers and is involved in their quality control, marketing and advertising departments.
He is based in the office for up to three days a week and spends up to two days per week travelling around the country working with Kiernan Milling’s customers.
Kiernan Milling has also provided numerous opportunities for David to travel overseas to gain further technical/nutrition knowledge. These countries included: America, Italy, Iceland and Holland.
“I like how practical my job is and I enjoying bringing my own technical abilities to the farm to assist customers to improve their enterprise in order to increase profits.”
After David found his feet in the industry, he then embarked on the next chapter and established a pedigree Charolais herd under the renowned ‘Corney’ prefix three years ago.
He purchased six French embryos and sourced three recipients from Martin Ryan - Goldstar Charolais.
The Cavan breeder also acquired Corney Miami, a heifer from French soil that stood second in the 2017 National Irish Charolais Cattle Society Show.
[Image source: Alfie Shaw - Pictured: Corney Miami]
David’s January 2018 born Corney Orlando, daughter of Major followed hot on her heels as she was crowned the Junior Female Calf Champion at 2018 Tullamore Show & FBD National Livestock Show and similarly this year, David’s September-2018-born Corney Nancy, daughter of Texan Gie won the North Eastern Charolais Calf Championship at Virginia Show.
These success stories come just two years after the Corney Herd made its debut on the show circuit.
[Image source: Alfie Shaw - Pictured: Corney Orlando]
In David’s opinion, an individual must possess strong interpersonal skills, good people skills and technical knowledge in order to sow a fruitful seed in the agricultural field.
“You can reap the rewards if you put your head down and work and study to the best of your ability. You have to prove yourself.”
“Working hard throughout my studies has paid off. I enjoy a challenge and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t find myself filling these shoes.” David outlined.
"My degrees have opened up so many different avenues."
David revealed that it is an exciting time to be part of Kiernan Milling as it undergoes further expansion with another state-of-the-art mill that will allow the plant to produce over 500,000 tonnes annually.
On the farming front back on Cavan soil, David intends to increase his herd to ten pedigree breeding females. He is keen to introduce traditional bloodlines to maintain and improve the quality of the herd going forward.
“I select sires on the basis of ease of calving, conformation, maternal traits and easy-fleshing abilities.”
Being a rapid mover, David is also in the process of constructing a new house and he will tie the knot next summer.
“You never know where you are going to end up next,” David concluded.
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