Scan man Dr Dan helps see into future
Published 20/02/2014 | 02:30
Dan Ryan has spent the best part of his last 25 years with his hand deep inside a cow. Over 2.5m cows believe it or not.
This may not seem like much to boast about, but Mr Ryan, or Dr Dan as he's known in the farming community, has put all those hours standing in dirty cattle crushes to good use.
Dr Dan makes a living out of scanning cows, helping farmers get their herds back in calf quicker to keep the calves coming and the milk flowing.
While Bill Gates chalked up 10,000 hours fluting around with amateur computer programming before he'd amassed enough expertise to take on the cyber world, Dr Dan has spent at least the same amount of time peering into dung flecked screens to decipher the meaning of the hazy luminous grey images from his scanning equipment.
He's got it down to such a fine art that he can tell if a cow is pregnant long before a foetus is even visible on the screen.
However, like the rest of us, Dr Dan isn't getting any younger. He's not going to be able to keep up the hard graft of climbing in and out of wet cattle handling facilities from six in the morning to 10 at night for too many years more.
The problem with this is that, for many farmers, if it's not Dr Dan who's doing the scanning, then it's not being done at all.
But Dr Dan has been preparing for the day that he has to hang up his scanning equipment for some time. Almost five years ago, he started exploring the possibility of getting the analysis of the scans done remotely, at his base in Fermoy, while leaving somebody else to get their hands in the, er, relevant location.