That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Darren Hartnett, Clonbonny, Athlone, County Westmeath of Bovi ~ Scan.
“We run a herd of pedigree Limousins under the Clonbonny Limousin prefix, alongside a 10-15 cow commercial herd, which comprises mainly pedigree non-registered Limousins, which I inseminate to Belgian Blue sires to produce show calves.
My passion for bovine genetics stemmed from our suckler farming enterprise and paved the way for my newly established company, Bovi ~ Scan, which I founded in August 2022 following the completion of a bovine AI course in November 2019.
Having a great conception/success rate in my first breeding season sparked an interest in furthering my knowledge of bovine reproduction.
From there, I went on to do the four phases of ultrasound scanning training in the summer of 2021.
Following the completion of the course, the next day, I took the plunge and invested in the best ultrasound equipment available on the market.
I undertook all my training for both AI and ultrasound courses with Dunmasc Genetics in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow.
For the next twelve months, I spent my time fine-tuning my knowledge and practical skills on the home farm before hitting the road last August to set up the company, Bovi ~ Scan.
Bovi ~ Scan offers quite a different service than most ultrasound scanning companies.
Not only do we specialise in pregnancy diagnosis, but we specialise in pre-breed scans to identify fertility issues before the breeding season commences.
We also can treat most issues on the spot by means of oestrus cycle programmes and advisory, among other services.
We also offer a pre- and post-scan package where we can scan our client’s breeding females before the bull goes out/AI season starts and scan once again post-breeding for a fixed rate.
I spend time with each animal, examining the entire reproductive organs to identify potential problems, which enables me to propose what solutions are available if I find a cow is not pregnant, which should be.
I dig deeper in my examination to explore why she is not in-calf, searching for cysts, infection or discharge within the cervix.
In the case of cows, which I identify as pregnant, again, I examine the reproductive organs to identify potential problems with the foetus/pregnancy to inform my client of any high-risk pregnancies which they may need to observe an animal closer than normal throughout the pregnancy or indeed, at labour.
Target market and promotion
I target my business at dairy and suckler farmers and pedigree cattle breeders, travelling the whole of Ireland.
Setting up the Bovi~ Scan service is, for me, about gathering as much information about each animal and giving that information back to the client to allow them to make decisions for their breeding plan or give closer observations of certain animals.
I have always had a passion for bovine genetics from the age of 7. I had my own cow at home on the family farm and would have all the AI catalogues from all the different companies and would spend hours picking bulls for my cows; not only that year, but I would plan what I would like to use for the next five years.
Moreover, I have always had a keen interest in learning and being able to scan cows.
There was always great excitement when the ultrasound technician would call to the farm with the big box scanner and bar stool and work his way down the crush, confirming which cows were in-calf and those which were empty.
After completing the AI course and gaining invaluable knowledge of bovine reproduction, it gave me the push I needed to become an ultrasound technician.
In April of this year, I will attend the fifth phase of the ultrasound scanning course.
Phase five is an advanced scanning course where I will gain more knowledge and experience of pregnancy abnormalities and sexing pregnancies.
Ultimately, my goal is to give our clients the best service possible and be able to treat problem cows on the day, reducing loss of time and money by getting a cow back to cycling quicker.
Also, our pre/post-breeding package seems to be really taking off in the last number of weeks.
Farmers want to ensure the foundation of their breeding programme is 100%, especially those like myself, using more expensive semen.
In the future, I do intend to complete the embryo transfer course with the intention of setting up an embryo flushing service and maybe also an AI service.
I intend to grow the business as much as possible in the coming years and gain as much knowledge and experience as possible.
Bovi~Scan is more than just a pregnancy diagnosis service provider. We pride ourselves in accurately identifying problems and getting them back into reproduction in the first six months of business.
We have returned to re-examine eight cows which we identified and treated, and they have now scanned in-calf. We hope to revisit at least another dozen of these cases in the coming weeks.
I have a Facebook account called Bovi~Scan, where I gain bookings through enquiries via Messenger.
In addition, I have my company logo and phone number on my jeep, so I gain clients from being on the road. Call 086-0822888 to make an enquiry or booking.”
To share your story, email – [email protected]