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Holstein Young Breeders Went Down Under for Learning & Development
June 7, 2017

As part of its programme for learning and development, Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) offered one member the trip of a lifetime to experience farming ‘down under’. Andrew Patton of Northern Ireland HYB was the winner of the HYB Australian Exchange Programme 2017.

AndrewPattonHYB_1cowsmo2017The HYB Australian Exchange competition offered one member the chance to spend a month in Australia to gain first-hand experience of its dairy industry – visiting farms and attending both youth camps and International Dairy Week. The trip was an all-expenses paid adventure, completely funded by Holstein UK and Holstein Australia and was a once in a lifetime opportunity; a chance to gain knowledge and experience of other cultures. As part of the exchange, an Aussie farmer will be coming over to England later this year.

Twenty-five year old Andrew Patton from Northern Ireland was this year’s HYB chosen candidate.  The trip didn’t come without a lot of hard work and determination from Andrew. After completing a thorough application and shortlisting process, Andrew reached the final three before being crowned winner in a social media announcement. Throughout the trip, Andrew gained first-hand experience of the Australian farming culture. From farm tours to factory visits and hitting the road with reps to visiting famous landmarks and experiencing local culture, the trip was an all-encompassing, first class experience.

AndrewPattonHYB_2cowsmo2017Andrew’s first farming adventure in Australia was with a local Semex rep, Stu Mackie, who took him to the Western District’s youth camp. The youth camp has similar aspects to HYB Weekend Rally. It is open to young members aged 10-16 years of age and around 40 members attended this year. In addition to socialising and networking, the camp included insightful seminars and workshops to develop learning on clipping, top lining, halter making, judging and auctioneering.

A number of generous families hosted Andrew at various locations throughout his trip. This included staying on a 600 cow dairy unit where he milked in the 50-point rotary parlour, and joining the Dickson family at Emu Banks Holsteins where he learnt about their breeding patterns and system of genomic testing every heifer calf. International Dairy Week formed a huge part of the trip; during this week Andrew worked for World Wide Sires on their Evolution Sale string. This was an incredibly enjoyable week for him, meeting so many interesting people and giving him the chance to work with the calf that broke the Australian sale record, Lightning Ridge CMD Jedi Gigi, the highest GTPI calf to sell worldwide (GTPI 2937). She made $251,000 and was sold to Sexing Technologies, USA. Throughout the week Andrew helped with washing, bedding, feeding and watering the calves. Other highlights from Dairy Week included showing a calf for the Dickson family and finding out he was joint winner of the Holstein UK President’s Medal back in the UK!

Andrew Patton said, “The month ended far too quickly and before I knew it I was heading back to Melbourne to catch my flight home. I had the trip of a lifetime in Australia and met so many knowledgeable, friendly people who I will keep in touch with. I am hugely thankful to Holstein UK and Holstein Australia for making this trip possible; I will treasure the experience forever. To other HYB members considering applying next year, go on, it’s the best thing you’ll do!”

AndrewPattonHYB_3cowsmo2017He adds, “The whole experience has been hugely beneficial – not only for personal development and social skills, but it has most definitely developed my breeding, husbandry, showmanship and management knowledge. Learning first-hand how other farmers breed and run their businesses is the best way to progress. The exchange has really made me analyse our farming business at home and has encouraged me to try out new techniques and methods.”

Miriam Bagley, Events & National HYB Coordinator for Holstein UK, commented, “Andrew was the ideal candidate for the HYB Australian Exchange Programme. Andrew is a very keen and active member of HYB and has been for the last 20 years. He has held various positions within the Northern Ireland Club and is currently Club Secretary. As one of the more senior members of the Club, Andrew is a very committed and driven member; he is a vital support to new, younger members. Andrew’s account of the Australian trip has been incredible to listen to. He embraced every opportunity and we know he has come back feeling enthused about Holstein breeding in the UK.”

 

 

 


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