Students' tail lifter scoops national award
Lifting a cow's tail to stop her kicking during milking is not the most glamorous of farming tasks but it is has won a group of Co Limerick school pupils national recognition.
Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Aaron Coughlan and Patrick Byrnes, from Salesian Secondary College in Pallaskenry, were searching for a project to enter in the National Junior Company of the Year competition when Patrick's mother suggested they design something to lift cows' tails (see picture, below left)
The son of a dairy farmer, Patrick had plenty of experience of the job and recognised the practical benefit such a device would offer farmers.
Patrick explained how their CowTail Lifter worked.
"Lifting the cow's tail tightens up the animal's back muscles, pinches the nerves to the legs and prevents it kicking," he said.
The pole has a U-shaped head that lifts the tail. It is hooked onto the rail behind the cow, and can be moved up and down the pit to wherever needed.
A prototype of the product has been used by Patrick's father John and other farmers have offered to buy samples.
The trio now go forward to represent Ireland at European level in London in July. They have also made an application for a patent on their invention.
This is the second year in a row that Salesian Secondary College has won the award. Last year Caoimhe O'Neill, Colleen Mullane, Fiona Mangan and Ciara Reidy won the award with 'Sign4Life', a mobile phone app used to teach sign language.
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