“Breeding and genetics have such a ‘crucial role’ to play in helping farmers meet the key challenges of improving farm efficiency and reducing environmental footprint,” according to AI Services’ new principal group scientist.

Dr. Debbie McConnell, who took up the role of principal group scientist, a new position within the business, last month, has a passion for the livestock industry.

McConnell joined the group from Lakeland Dairies (agri-business division), having previously held senior research positions at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (agriculture branch) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (dairy division).

According to Northern Ireland-based AI Services, she has brought a wide range of experience to the new role,

Originally from a dairy, beef and sheep farm, McConnell has worked in a number of research roles, within industry and on commercial farms within the UK and Republic of Ireland livestock sector for the past 11 years.

According to the principal group scientist she is delighted to have joined the team at AI Services.


In her latest role she will work across the AI Services Group with a particular focus on the introduction and adoption of new science and technology both within the group and on farm.

Dr. McConnell said: “It has been exciting to see the range of breeding indices, traits and tools on offer to farmers increase markedly in recent years as our understanding of genetics and our ability to capture data from animals increases.

“I look forward to working with the team across the group to help ensure farmers are gaining maximum value out of these developments, and help them build their herds for the future.”

The development of effective breeding policies has always been a “cornerstone” of improved herd performance, according to the AI Services Group.

The farmer-owned company, which has around 2,500 farmer shareholders, believes there is a growing recognition of the role that genetic improvement will play in delivering future sustainability for the milk sector.