From calendars reminding farmers of risks and hazards on farms, to slurry pit covers, dehorning holders and more, this year’s finalists of the Student Enterprise Programme are focused on reducing risks and accidents on farms.

Constant strides are being by students every year with innovation across Ireland, and ahead of the national final on 9 May in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Irish Country Living chats to four finalists about the agricultural projects they are bringing to the table.

DSKE Farm Safety Calendars

Carrigallen Vocational School, Co Leitrim

DSKE Farm Safety Calendars serve as a monthly reminder to farmers about seasonal risks on a holding. It was created and produced under the direction of a local HSA inspector by students Danielle Hall, Saoirse Shanley, Kate Harte and Emma Flynn-Duffy – they came up with the name DSKE from their initials.

“We wanted to educate and help people in some way,” says Danielle. “When we found out farming was the most dangerous occupation in Ireland, we wanted to show people the risks. I’m the only one from a farming background, so the girls weren’t aware of how easy it was to get into a farming accident.”

A themed page is matched to every month’s risk profile, and the project aims to reduce the number of accidents taking place on Irish farms by raising awareness about farm safety. After a local accident resulted in a fatality, they decided to donate 10% of all sales to Embrace Farm.

“Initially we were thinking of creating a book, but we thought if a farmer got a book, they would read it, throw it on a shelf and might not look at it again,” explains Emma. “So that’s why we decided to do a calendar; farmers could hang it up in the kitchen and look at it every day, so they would be reminded of all the information a lot more often.”

Their main sales month was in January when the girls sold calendars (priced €10) at stands in local markets and launched their online store. Selling over 730 calendars, with no previous entrepreneurial experience, the students are currently in the process of creating one for 2025.

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The best part about the experience for Seán Brett has been coming up with a product and having it trademarked.


Christian Brothers Secondary School, Co Tipperary

Sixteen-year-old Seán Brett created and developed a portable steel cover for slurry pit manholes by himself. Growing up on a suckler farm in Drumbane, Co Tipperary with Limousin and Hereford cows, Sean was always passionate about agriculture.

“Slurry on my farm is the very same as everyone else’s farm,” he says. “I have a golden retriever and a younger sister, who are always out at the calves; my dad would always have been very careful when he was doing slurry on the farm. Every farmer has a story about someone falling in or a near-death experience, some of them are fatal so I came up with the idea.”

It took him three months to build the first steel cover. When he came up with the final design, his uncle was a great help when it came to the welding and building process. Seán is now getting them made by Pro Craft Engineering. The product (priced €1,250) consists of a steel frame, box iron insert, steel swivel pipe and steel handle that allows it to be lifted into and out of position by a tractor/loader.

A big issue farmers were having, according to Seán, was the pipes collapsing, resulting in them being replaced often. This is why his design has a swivel so the pipe isn’t under pressure and won’t collapse.

The Tankit has three main functions:

  • It ensures that the manhole is completely covered, safeguarding against potential accidents.
  • It protects the slurry tank hose, ensuring there is no pinch point where the hose can be damaged, and thus saving farmers money by limiting the frequency at which it would need to be replaced.
  • Finally, it ensures a cleaner work environment by allowing the hose to rest in an angled position so excess slurry drips back into the tank and not onto the yard surface.
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    Keira Hopkins, Grace Cassells and Lára Flood are representing Longford in the senior category with their product Handle Holders.

    Handle Holders.

    Handle Holders

    Ballymahon Vocational School, Co Longford

    Transition year students Keira Hopkins, Grace Cassells and Lára Flood are representing Longford in the senior category with their Handle Holders product. Their invention holds scrapers, forks, brushes, rakes, shovels etc on walls instead of leaving them on the floor or at the sides of farm buildings.

    The students saw the accidents caused by leaving these objects lying around.

    “We all come from farming backgrounds and see grapes and scrapers left lying around on the ground/leaning against walls or bales,” says Keira. “This is a huge safety hazard and could cause serious injuries if people stood on them and could cause damage to machinery if driven over. We wanted to create a small, durable and compact product that would resolve this problem and be suitable for all farms.”

    With guidance from Keira’s dad Christy, who works in the engineering department at Athlone College, the girls developed a few different prototypes.

    The product is made from recycled aluminium, and comes in packaging with four wall plugs and six screws; costing €8 per product, they have sold over 60 Handle Holders so far.

    • Visit @bvs.handleholders on Instagram for more

    Sean Dinneen, David Forde, John Quinn and Jack Good, from Kinsale Community School on farm with their Farm Equipment Holder.

    Farm Equipment Holder.

    DJS engineering

    Kinsale Community School, Co Cork

    Students Sean Dinneen, David Forde, John Quinn and Jack Good called their business DJS Engineering. With all coming from a farming background and studying engineering for their Leaving Certificate, the group decided to make a farm equipment holder that makes dehorning cows and other farm tasks safer for the farmer.

    “We picked mini company as an option in Transition Year, we wanted to do something roped in with farming life,” explains David. “That’s when we saw a gap in the market for a holder for holding your dehorning equipment when farmers are dehorning calves. We made a prototype at the shed in my yard with help from my uncle Declan.”

    The idea came about after a fire on Sean’s granddad’s farm, caused by a dehorner being placed close to straw, resulting in a farm building being destroyed as well as animal fatalities.

    The group are hoping if farmers start using the holders it will stop those types of accidents.

    The local enterprise office has been a great support. Since winning the regional finals, the boys have started selling the products in Country Farm Supplies and at local co-ops, as well as selling it online themselves (priced €80 plus postage). They have also updated the design to make it more robust and lighter to carry.

    • Visit @djs__engineering on Instagram for more

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