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Minister Heydon launches investment in Farm Machinery Simulators

At the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska today, Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D, launched the investment of €1.2m in 18 farm machinery simulators for use in Teagasc agricultural colleges.

Driver operation has been identified both internationally and in Ireland as a major cause of incidents involving tractors and machinery. Over 40% of workplace fatalities in Ireland occur on farms, with over half of these fatal incidents involving tractors, farm vehicles and machinery. There are also many non-fatal incidents involving tractors, farm vehicles and machinery, some of which result in life changing injuries.

Making the announcement about the investment Minister of State Heydon said: “Improving the health, safety and wellbeing of farmers is a priority for me and I am therefore delighted that this investment of €1.2m in 18 agricultural machinery simulators will ensure that students will get the best opportunity to develop their machinery operation skills early in their farming careers.”

The simulators will be available to students completing courses at the agricultural and horticultural colleges and to students at the universities and technological universities who use the college facilities for practical learning.

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara welcomed the support from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for the machinery simulators.  Professor O’Mara said: “Students in our colleges will be able to use these simulators to learn and be trained to use a range of machines safely. It will greatly enhance our capacity to provide innovative training to a high number of students in potentially dangerous work tasks. I thank Minister Martin Heydon T.D, for his personal commitment to improving health and safety on Irish farms.”

A demo model of the new simulators is on display at the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships.

Visitors to the ploughing championships are welcome to come along to Teagasc stand to view this new technology and test their tractor driving skills on the demo simulator.