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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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€57,000 like-life cow simulator teaching students how to help with calving

An Australian-based education training provider is utilising a cow simulator to give students experience in pulling a calf on a “realistic and life-size cow” before their first live procedure.

South West Tafe claims it has one of only three of its kind in Australia to help its agriculture student hone their skills before handling live animals.

It sourced the animal simulator, which costs approximately €57,500, from Veterinary Simulator Industries.

Rebecca Toleman, South West TAFE Agriculture teacher, said she was “extremely excited” to be teaching students using this new technology.

“We are so fortunate to be the only trainers in Victorian offering this technology. Our students are so lucky to be able to learn techniques on this state-of-the-art new training tool.”

Toleman said the simulator would allow students to become proficient in their practical skills without the need to “endanger or cause unnecessary discomfort to live animals”.

“The simulators are designed in partnership between professional designers and fabricators and veterinary educators to create teaching tools that are realistic in appearance, are highly functional, durable and meet the needs of our teachers and students,” she said.

The new technology will allow students to experience:

  • Firstly, managing the birthing process – including breech birth;
  • Haltering a cow;
  • Placing body ropes for casting a cow;
  • Identifying mastitis;
  • Obtaining milk samples;
  • Also, identifying the outline of various internal organs
  • AI training
  • Lastly, pregnancy testing.

South West TAFE Land, Food and Fibre manager, Paul Meredith said the funding for the cow simulator was made available through the Regional and Specialist Training Fund programme. It aimed to support training for specific skills in the regional and specialist areas with thin or highly specialised training markets.

He said farming made up a large proportion of the region’s workforce. Therefore, “it was important to give our future farmers the chance to learn using the latest training equipment”.

“This new training tool is a big boost to our agriculture programs and will give students a huge advantage in preparing them for their first live procedure,” Meredith added.

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