UCD and WIT graduate, Seamus Millea, who hails from a suckler farm, worked in Ireland and in New Zealand before moving to fill his current position at Alltech.
Name: Seamus Millea
Company name: Alltech
Location: I cover the south-west of Ireland, which includes Cork, Kerry, and Limerick.
Do you hail from a farming background? Yes, we have a suckler farm in Hugginstown, South Kilkenny. We have 60 suckler cows with Charolais, Limousin and Simmental calves. The herd is split calving with 40 in the spring and 20 in the autumn. We sell the cattle at around 15 months.
Current position: InTouch Feeding Specialist with Alltech Ireland – a role I began on June 15th, 2020.
Alltech has more than thirty years of research in animal nutrition and health, which has allowed us to develop and manufacture innovative, natural feed supplements that improve animal performance. The European Bioscience Centre was opened in Dunboyne, Co. Meath, Ireland in 1999.
The InTouch support hub in Dunboyne combines the latest in feed-management software, mixer wagon controller technology and skilled feeding specialists to work proactively with many types of farmers, ensuring the best in feeding accuracy and animal performance.
Each day, InTouch manages the feeding of over 300,000 animals on 2,000 farms across the globe, representing one of the world’s largest feed efficiency databases.
Where did you work prior to this?
I worked as an animal nutrition sales representative with Agrifeeds, a joint venture between Fonterra and Wilmar, in New Zealand.
I covered the Northland region for sales of animal feed and additives along with providing ruminant nutrition support on-farm and to the farm source staff.
Before travelling to New Zealand, I had worked for Jordan Agri Services in a sales and agronomy role, and I am really no stranger to Alltech. I used to work with KEENAN as a feeding specialist in 2016 too.
Did you study any third-level degree programmes?
I completed an agricultural science diploma in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) before transferring to University College Dublin (UCD) to complete my honours degree in animal and crop production. I also completed a diploma in integrated pest management and sustainable use of pesticides in UCD 2017, and in 2019, I became a FeedRight advisor with DairyNz.
What does a typical working day entail?
Every day is a little different, but farm visits for me would include providing farmers with advice and support on diet formulation, feed budgeting, forage analysis, grass measuring, grazing advice, feed conversion efficiency and mineral supplementation.
Every day, I am talking to farmers or out visiting farms. We have a great team of nutritionists in the InTouch support hub in the office in Dunboyne, Co. Meath. They are always available for nutritional support, and I work closely with Bernard Stack, who is also focusing on supporting our customers in the southwest region.
What are your responsibilities?
I am responsible for providing ruminant nutrition support for all farmers in the south-west of Ireland. That means working with farmers and giving them advice and support on diet formulation, feed budgeting, grass measuring, grazing advice, feed conversion efficiency and mineral supplementation.
What do you like most about this position?
Meeting the people, it is a great opportunity to work alongside farmers to help them achieve their targets in the different systems we have in Ireland. Month to month things change quickly on farms and I work with farmers to proactively implement the changes they need to – it’s great to be able to this.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
As the area is predominantly-spring calving, this means that the winter months can become very busy. The role of InTouch nutritionist is vital when it comes to managing workload and providing our customers with timely nutritional advice while visiting them on-farm.
Is this position meeting your expectations?
Yes, having worked in a similar nutrition role with KEENAN’s previously, the transition into my new role has been easier.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I wanted to travel and see more of what happens outside Ireland. Working and travelling New Zealand has definitely been a highlight for me to date.
What advice would you give to people who wish to carve out a career in the industry?
I would encourage people to get as much work experience as possible. It is a great industry to work in and to meet new people. This helps create opportunities, and then you can work anywhere in the world.
If you could turn back the clock career-wise, would you have done anything differently?
No, I have gained valuable skills and experience in each of the roles I have worked in over the years, and I look forward to applying them to my new role with Alltech in the Southwest.
What are your career-related plans for the future?
I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting farmers in this area and helping them achieve their farm goals.
Seamus Millea in conversation with Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming.
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