Success for Teagasc students at Agro Challenge in Slovakia
Students Ellen Doherty and Conor Farrell, both attending Teagasc Kildalton Agricultural College, and Wayne Smith and Rosie O’Brien, students in Gurteen College, successfully participated in the Agro Challenge competition, which took place in Nitra, Slovakia from August 15th to 18th.
The first time a Teagasc team has competed in this event, Agro Challenge is a competition for full-time students of the green sector aged up to and including 25, who attend a school or institution that is a member of the national EUROPEA organisation.
Competing against 17 other teams from 16 different countries, tasks were completed across a range of disciplines; each task had a maximum allocated time of 15 minutes.
Competency in machinery skills was judged through tasks in stacking round and square bales, changing blades on a mounted disc mover, changing wheels, and tractor driving with both a trailer and water tank. Each team’s attention to detail in animal husbandry was tested through animal assessments to determine live weight, the preparation of an animal ration, hand milking and a milk quality assessment. Furthermore, the students were required to carry out tasks in crop agronomy, focusing on identifying different crop plants and their seeds, and the identification of diseases, insect pests and weeds.
The results of the competition were announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday, August 18th, where the Irish team won one silver and three bronze medals. The Irish team finished 10th overall.
- Silver medal – tractor driving with a water tank;
- Bronze medal – hand milking;
- Bronze medal – changing blades on a mounted disc mower;
- Bronze medal – log splitting
The students were accompanied by team mentors Eva Hayes, Kildalton College, and Danielle Mulligan, Gurteen College, who offered their congratulations to the team. They said: “We are delighted their hard work and preparation came to fruition. They represented Ireland and Teagasc so admirably and we are very proud of them.”
The team’s participation in the Agro Challenge was supported by the FBD Trust. Commenting on their performance, Michael Berkery, Chairman of FBD Trust, said: “Congratulations to the members of team Ireland and their mentors on their great achievement at the 2023 Agro Challenge. They are fantastic ambassadors for Ireland and the Irish agri industry. On behalf of the team at FBD, I wish them every success in the future.”
Congratulating the students on their excellent performance and thanking the FBD Trust for its continued support, Anne-Marie Butler, Teagasc Head of Education, said: “International events like Agro Challenge offer our learners a new and international perspective to their learning journey. We look forward to future international events. Well done to Rosie, Ellen, Conor and Wayne who represented Ireland so proudly.”