Hello from Teagasc in Ireland
Jan 21st 2023

We are delighted to share the news from Teagasc education programmes and training colleges with you this week. Most of the dairy and beef systems in Ireland operate a Spring calving system. Therefore, a large proportion (approx. 1.5 million) of Irish dairy and beef calves will be born across the country during the months of January, February, March and April. Field conditions are wet due to high rainfall in the last few weeks, however tillage farmers in Ireland will be commencing tilling and sowing for Spring crops in the next few weeks when soil traffic ability improves.

Preparing Teagasc students for Practical Learning Periods

The vocational training programmes are well underway with many students now preparing to go on their practical learning placements (PLP) to the registered host farmers and growers. This Spring, Teagasc will place 800+ students from the Level 5 and Level 6 (EQF Level 4 and 5) programmes on farms across Ireland, USA and New Zealand mainly. Teagasc has a national PLP specialist who liaises with allocated staff in each a college to arrange placements with students. In November, a live webinar was hosted by Teagasc students to explain the practical learning period- see below for more detail on this. Teagasc also recently published a PLP booklet that provides details on the PLP process and procedure for agricultural students.

Teagasc Climate Strategy

On 01 December 2022, Teagasc launched our Teagasc Climate Action Strategy (2022-2030) “Supporting Farmers for Climate Action.” At the launch, Teagasc management outlined our strategy for support farmers and others in the agri-food sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration. In particular, Teagasc launched our new Signpost Advisory Programme; announced the development of our unique Sustainability Digital Platform, in partnership with ICBF and Bord Bia; and launched our new Virtual National Centre for Agri-Food Climate Research and Innovation. Further information on the Teagasc Climate Action Strategy, including launch day presentations and a recording of the Teagasc Climate Action Strategy launch, is available at https://www.teagasc.ie/ClimateAction

BT Young Scientist

Some of our education staff from agricultural and horticultural colleges participated at the Teagasc exhibition stand at the recent BT Young Scientist and Technology event in Dublin last week. This is a national event with over 500 projects shortlisted to attend and over 40,000 public attendees. The Teagasc stand had a range of hands-on displays throughout the exhibition covering a range of science topics: soils, food safety, ash dieback disease, human digestion, milk sugars, cheese, superbugs, robotics, functional foods from waste, biocontrol of plant pathogens, aphid vectors and potato diseases.

https://www.teagasc.ie/about/research–innovation/science-communications-and-outreach/bt-young-scientist/

 

Simulators

In December 2022, agriculture and horticulture colleges took delivery of 18 simulators costing €1.2 million. The simulators are funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The “Tenstar” simulator units will enable learners to learn and practice on tractors, telescopic loaders, 360 degree diggers and forestry machinery in a safe virtual environment. In addition, equine students have the opportunity of practicing on specialised simulators. Use of simulators to support practical skills training on farms is particularly beneficial for less experienced students. The rollout will involve training staff and maximising the integration of this technology into the curriculum.

 

Mental Health Workshops for Students

In Autumn 2022, Teagasc in collaboration with the Irish young farmer’s association (MACRA) organised the delivery of mental health workshops for college students. The initiative was called ‘Make The Moove’ and was tailored to students in Agricultural Colleges across the country. It was funded by Mental Health Ireland and was very well received. Gurteen College staff have provided additional details on how it was delivered in their college in their piece below.

 

If you would like any more details on any of the above, you can contact Carmel Finlay  carmel.finlay@teagasc.ie or James Maher james.maher@teagasc.ie