Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Students are flocking to Teagasc's dairy education

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Ireland's potential to ramp up dairy production in the post-quota era is attracting more and more students into dairy-oriented courses offered by Teagasc.

A growing number of students at the Level 5 certificate in Agriculture are showing interest in dairy options and a large proportion of graduates from that course have indicated that they intend to pursue specialist dairy courses.

"Even students who are not from a dairy background are moving into the Level 6 advanced dairy course," Tony Pettit, Teagasc head of education has revealed.

There is also strong demand for the professional diploma in Dairy Farm Management, which is offered jointly by Teagasc and UCD.

In fact, with 40 students already enrolled in the programme, Teagasc may soon have to recruit new host farmers to provide work experience for the students.

"We will be looking for commercial dairy farmers who operate to the highest technical efficiencies -- those who are using grass budgeting, EBI, profit monitors and other tools to run their farms efficiently," said Mr Pettit.

Application numbers to Teagasc courses were slightly down in 2013 to 640 students.

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"It could be just the year that was in it or it could be a sign that we've reached a plateau in demand -- it's too early to tell yet," said Mr Pettit.

With courses from Level 5 to Level 8 on offer, the education body has courses to suit all students interested in farming and food, ranging from Equine Studies to Food Science, Horticulture and Forestry.

Depending on the course a student is interested in, applications are made through the CAO system or directly to the Teagasc colleges.

A full list of all Teagasc courses is available from and open days for all Teagasc colleges will take place in 2014.

For non-CAO courses, an entrance exam will take place in June.

Irish Independent