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HomeDairy‘My interest in data and agtech brought me back to university’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘My interest in data and agtech brought me back to university’

In this week’s Agri Career Focus segment, That’s Farming, speaks to Vincent Tennanty about his studies at Ballyhaise Agricultural College, DkIT, UCD and Maynooth University and work at Devenish Nutrition, EFS and Intellync.

28-year-old Vincent Tennanty has drifted between the corporate and educational world throughout his career.

From humble beginnings, his passion for agriculture stemmed from his father’s and grandfather’s involvement in calf-rearing.

Speaking to That’s Farming, the Kildalkey, Co Meath native, said: “My family always reared a small number of calves. My earliest farming memories include selling cattle in Carnaross Mart and buying my first half of a calf.”

“I milked cows for farmers during the summer and continue to do so. I love dairy farming. Honestly, I would never consider a job in another industry but agriculture.”

Educational pathway

Tennanty studied agricultural science at Ballyhaise Agricultural College and DkIT from 2010-2012 before transferring to UCD, where he obtained a BAGRSC in animal & crop production.

After graduating from UCD, in 2015, he worked for close to three years with Devenish Nutrition in Belfast, where he was involved in turkey and broiler feed trials.

“We monitored how the birds performed on different feeds by collecting weights and analysing the data. I enjoyed the data we collected. My role was mainly poultry-based, and my passion lied with cows.”

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“I loved data and technology associated with dairy cows, and I moved to EFS in Mullingar. The role involved technical sales and support of technologies to farmers.”

“Sensehub collars were just starting at the time, and it is great to see how popular they are now. I also had some exposure to Lely robots, and all the data that these systems collected fascinated me. My interest in data and agtech brought me back to university.”

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Data analytics

In 2019, he returned to Maynooth University to study data analytics, learn how to code and use statistics to obtain value from data. Furthemore, he wanted to relate this to what he learned in UCD and “provide value back to farmers”.

After obtaining an H-Dip in Data Analytics, he joined Intellync as a data analytics engineer. They are AB Agri’s agri-tech wing based in Kilkenny. AB Agri is part of Associated British Foods, which owns Primark.

“It is brilliant to be working within such a big company. My job involves writing code to clean, model and visualise farmer data.”

One of their key products is Cow Connect which is feeding software for TMR wagons. Vincent looks at farmer’s feeding behaviour, times, accuracy and costings and models different scenarios.

“We combine all types of farmer data to make better recommendations and make the farmer more money. My role involves coding, which I love. I work closely with the entire team, from software engineers to technical sales reps.”

“I love trying to find out why there is variation/differences across farms. Technology is moving so fast. We always have new and different tools for managing big datasets appearing. It is challenging to keep on top of.”

Stand-out  agri career milestone

His career highlight to date has been working with Intellync to create Farm Footprint Carbon Models.

These models take farm data and return a farm carbon footprint. “With the results, we can help a farmer focus on specific areas and reduce their environmental impact.”

Vincent Tennanty, agri career, dairy farming, dairy news

Future and advice

Keen to expand his knowledge base, the Meath native hopes his current role can lead to some international travel when allowed. Besides, he would not rule out a return to Maynooth to obtain an MSc in data analytics.

“I continue to relief milk at the weekends. This keeps me in touch with grassroots farming which I feel is very important. If I could turn back the clock, I would have studied data analytics sooner; I sometimes wish I did a PhD straight after UCD.”

“My advice to young people is as follows: Do not be afraid to change jobs and learn new skills. It is important to keep an open mind regarding different types of farming systems.”

“There are so many types of jobs in the agricultural industry across a wide variety of disciplines. These include farming, accountancy, banking, finance, technology etc.”

“I have progressed from working in an animal nutrition company to an agritech technical sales role to now working with data associated with the two.”

“Success looks different for everyone. For me, to succeed, you cannot be afraid to make mistakes and make changes. If things do not work out, you just go again.”

‘I hope we are not on the path of boom-bust’

Commenting on the future of agriculture, he said: “Farmers and agri stakeholders need to be better at counteracting misinformation with data and statistics.”

“Dairy farming is all the rage at the moment, and I hope we are not on a path of boom-bust. Although, we still need more automation on farms for data to be collected automatically,” Vincent concluded.

You can follow Vincent on Twitter by clicking here.

Are you pursuing an agri career? To share your story, email – [email protected]


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