Farming & Fisheries

Clonakilty pulling power pays off with new calving simulator

October 5th, 2023 5:00 PM

By Martin Claffey

Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon with Dr Anne-Marie Butler, Teagasc head of education, Clonakilty Agricultural College technician Jonathan Keneally, and Teagasc director, Professor Frank O’Mara, at the launch of the calving and injecting simulators.

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A CALVING simulator and an injecting simulator will be used at the Clonakilty Agricultural College as part of a rollout across the country to allow farmers to develop their skills at handling livestock.

Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon made the announcement at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska last week, with 11 calving simulators and 11 injecting simulators for use in Teagasc agricultural colleges and research and innovation centres.

Demonstration models of the new simulators were on display at the Teagasc stand at the Ploughing Championships. The livestock simulators will be available to students at the agricultural colleges and livestock research and innovation centres, and also to students at universities and technological universities who use these facilities for practical learning.

 ‘Almost one in five farm fatalities on Irish farms over the past decade involved livestock while livestock also account for over half of all non-fatal incidents,’ Minister Heydon said. ‘These simulators will provide students with a safe environment to develop livestock handling skills before progressing to working with live animals.

‘It is important that the next generation of farmers have the necessary skills in calving cows and injecting cattle to perform these tasks safely. I am delighted to fund this investment in simulators that will greatly expand the capacity of Teagasc to provide enhanced training in these vital livestock husbandry skills.’

Around 4,200 full and part-time students and a further 1,380 students in higher education undertake practical training at agricultural colleges and centres. An estimated 85% of these students come from livestock farms, indicating the relevance of access to the bovine simulators. The Bovine simulators will also be available to farmer groups who wish to expand their skill base related to cow-calving and injection skills, Teagasc head of education Dr Anne Marie Butler said.

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