Mountbellew Agricultural College students were crowned victorious in the inaugural National Broadband Ireland sponsored Macra na Feirme Business and Farm Technology Award. The award formed part of the annual “Ag Challenges Day,” that was held on the 27th of April at Gurteen College, Co. Tipperary and involved Ireland’s seven agricultural colleges with four of the colleges operated by Teagasc and three private colleges.

Students in each of the colleges were invited to submit entries on the topic “The Technology I want to deploy on my Farm / Enterprise and Why,” and the submissions saw student present well researched projects on a wide range of farm technologies such as electronic ID (EID) readers, GPS technologies for distribution of fertilisers and systems for grassland management.

The winning group of Emily Mcnally, Sean Quinn and Brían O Connor, from Mountbellew, County Galway, presented their project on the application and benefits of handheld EID readers.

“It was refreshing to see the ideas coming out of the up and coming generation of farmers. We know young farmers have always been at the forefront of innovation but we were really able to see that from the teams participating in this award. Congratulations to Mountbellew on their win and well done to the teams from Gurteen, Kildalton, Ballyhaise and Clonakilty for their submissions” said John Keane, Macra na Feirme National President.

Niall Beirne, Head of Communications at NBI commented. “Congratulations to the students from Mountbellew Agricultural College on their success although I would also like to recognise the efforts of all the teams. The judges had a tough decision to make in awarding the outright winner. Mountbellew were very impressive in so far as they understood what problem they were addressing. Their demonstration of the EID reader in conjunction with a clear articulation of the benefits was very comprehensive. It was notable that the students understood that the technology could improve flock management, as well as applying individual animal management. It was clear to the judges that the students understood that this technology could be a very useful tool in decision making and business development.”