The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine has confirmed the allocation of €500,000 in funding to Teagasc for the procurement of calving and injecting simulators for use in agricultural colleges and research centres.
11 bovine calving simulators and 11 bovine injecting simulators, which will be utilised at agricultural colleges and Teagasc livestock research centres, are expected to be in use for the coming academic year.
See our previous article on www.thatsfarming.com on: €57,000 like-life cow simulator teaching students how to help with calving
In excess of 5,000 learners per annum will benefit from these new simulators across full-time, part-time and distance courses.
They will be available to students completing courses at Teagasc agricultural colleges and those enrolled in programmes at universities and technological universities who use the college facilities for practical learning.
The use of bovine simulators, according to the DAFM, has been shown to be an effective training tool when handling large animals.
Through simulator use, conditions are created or replicated to resemble real-life situations.
Cattle have been involved in almost a fifth of fatal farm fatalities over the past decade.
Data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey also shows that there are approximately 4,500 non-fatal incidents each year on Irish farms, with just over half of these incidents involving livestock.
Making the announcement, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon T.D, said:
“Improving farmer health, safety and wellbeing is a priority for me, and the training of students on handling livestock safely presents a particular challenge due to the need for close contact with animals that can become stressed, particularly large animals.”
“The simulators will give students the best opportunity to develop their livestock handling skills early in their career.”
“With live-animal training, students have limited opportunities to perform a procedure and learn the required competency.”
“However, with bovine simulators, every student can practice cow calving and injecting skills in a safe environment until they are proficient and confident to progress to training on live animals.”
“This investment will yield dividends not only for safer livestock handling but also the quality of training available at our education centres.”
Health and safety
Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Mara stated that the training of today’s agriculture students is the pathway to making Irish farms safer places to work and live in the future.
“Using modern technologies to improve the health and safety training of these students is an innovative way of equipping the farmers of tomorrow with the skills to carry out routine tasks with livestock in a safer way.”
Teagasc Head of Education, Dr Anne-Marie Butler, added that the use of simulators in learning environments facilitate the application of health and safety training into active hands-on practice which is “invaluable”.