Ballyhaise Agricultural College and DkIT – Science led Agricultural Education
Teagasc Ballyhaise College and DkIT have been working collaboratively in the development and delivery of level 6, 7 and 8 Agriculture programmes for over 20 years. DkIT and Ballyhaise now co-deliver the 4-year BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Agriculture and more recently the BSc in Agriculture.
Ballyhaise Agricultural College
One of the four Teagasc colleges, it is located in county Cavan and has a significant catchment reaching one third of the 130k farmers in the country. This stretches from Dublin and Louth in the east to Longford and Sligo on the west to Donegal in the north. Established in 1906, it has a long history of delivering the latest husbandry and management skills to farmers in the region.
The college land extends to 220 hectares of grass and woodlands. The spring calving dairy herd consists of 130 dairy cows plus replacements. The herd is part of the Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Research programme. The 38 cow suckler herd is spring calving. Replacements are reared and all other progeny is brought to beef. There is a sheep flock of 270 ewes. All the farm enterprises have excellent facilities including various types of housing and handling units. The farm includes 50 hectares of diverse woodlands which are used for the practical training of students who participate on the various educational programmes.
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT)
Founded in 1971, DkIT is an autonomous Institute of Higher Education, established under the Regional Technical Colleges Act 1992. DkIT has earned a reputation as the leading higher education provider in the North East region of the Republic of Ireland. It has contributed to the transformation of the region by providing quality educational opportunities in a broad range of disciplines across four academic schools, from undergraduate degree to doctoral level.
DkIT have been working collaboratively with Teagasc Ballyhaise College in the development and delivery of level 6, 7 and 8 Agriculture programmes for over 20 years. The first collaboration was the Higher Certificate in Agriculture in 2001. DkIT and Ballyhaise now co-deliver the 4-year BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Agriculture and more recently the BSc in Agriculture, which is a part-time programme for holders of Teagasc ‘green certs’ who have post-qualification experience.
There are also opportunities for Teagasc graduates to access the full-time honours degree programme through advanced entry. DkIT have also collaborated with Teagasc colleagues in the development of the MSc in Agricultural Biotechnology and the Postgraduate Diploma in Data Analytics for Sustainable Agri-Food Production (funded by the Human Capital Initiative) which will be available from September 2022.
This highly successful collaboration combines the expertise of Ballyhaise College in Farming, Farm Business and Agricultural Policy with the DkIT strengths in Science, Food Processing and Environmental Protection. For 50 years, DkIT have been delivering high quality programmes across a range of Science disciplines from NFQ level 6 up to PhD level.
DkIT Agriculture programmes are underpinned by basic and applied research, which has a regional and national focus. The DkIT Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies carries out multidisciplinary research in areas such as lake and catchment management, soil bioremediation, climate change, organic waste management and drinking water protection. The EPA-funded COSAINT project, which finished in 2019, aimed to assess the effect of cattle access to water courses on water quality. Led by Teagasc, researchers from Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin City University and University College Dublin studied a number of sites – three of which were in the Dunleer catchment of the Agricultural Catchments Programme.
Dairy research programme
The Teagasc Ballyhaise dairy research programme was set up in 2004 with an objective of increasing the efficiency of milk production in the region. It is continuously focused on applying the latest research from other Teagasc centres on trials that are relevant to this region. The current focus is on reducing chemical nitrogen fertiliser by the adoption of clover across the unit. The information presented helps farmers make informed choices and decisions that support their sustainability.
Agriculture is undergoing a transformative change to become both more sustainable and more competitive, requiring those working in the industry to become multi-skilled and adaptive to new technologies and practices. At the heart of this DkIT/Teagasc collaboration is the provision of support to the industry to achieve this transformation by providing opportunities for everyone in the region, with an interest in Agriculture or associated industries, to access a science-based education.
The Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) is running a week of social media releases showcasing some of its activities from Monday 21 February to Friday 25 February. The week’s theme is “Working Together for Water Quality”. More details of what is on can be found at www.teagasc.ie/ACPweek22