Farming projects among BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winners
Plants, barley, silage and farm safety featured in the prize-winning projects.

Farming and food projects were among the winners of the coveted BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition on Friday night.

The overall winner was confirmed as Simon Meehan, aged 15, a transition year student from Colaiste Choilm in Cork.

He took home the top prize worth €7,500 for his project entitled Investigation into the Antimicrobial effects of both aerial and root parts of selected plants against Staphylococcus aureus .

Meehan Simon selected nine locally sourced plants, such as asparagus, nettles and blackberries, to test for the presence of chemicals which could potentially be used to control bacterial infection. The leaves of the blackberry plant were shown to contain a chemical which prevented the growth of different bacteria.”

In the group category, the runner-up award went to Darragh Twomey, Neil O’Leary and Andrew Heffernan from Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork.

Their project, entitled Feeding 9.6bn people by 2050 included a field study to increase food production in a sustainable manner.

They treated barley with a specific strain of bacteria and found it increased the yield of varieties of the crop. This project also collected the Teagasc special award.

Within the biological and ecological category, second place in the senior group section went to South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn for a project on the antifungal uses of oregano to stop the growth of mould on silage.

The ABP Food Group Farm Safety Award went to Wicklow’s Colaiste Chraobh Abhann team, for their project on the use of a mechanism on the gates of a livestock trailer to decrease farm injuries.

Another fall in Global Dairy Trade prices
The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but rise in whole milk powder price.

The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but a rise in the whole milk powder price.

The event for this week concluded with the GDT Price Index down 1.7%

The price of butter dipped 8.1% to €4,237/t, cheddar 3.3% to €3,076.38/t, skim milk powder increased 0.8% to €1,675.92/t and milk powder is up 1.5% to €2,543.40/t.

In addition, rennet casein is down 9.5%, to €3,937/t.

Simplicity at the core of Wicklow Better Farm
Brian Doran farms grassland and tillage in Co Wicklow, with a large crowd attending his farm walk.

A crowd of over 200 people attended the first of two Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge walks taking place on Brian Doran's farm just outside Carnew in Co Wicklow.

Brian is farming 43ha of grassland and 41ha of tillage. The grassland area is split into two blocks. The 32ha main block is situated around the yard, with the remaining 11ha five miles away.

Simplicity is at the core of Brian’s system, with 50 suckler cows and calves running in one block and a 55 steers and heifers running in another. All progeny are sold as steer and heifer beef.

The walk of Brian's farm includes five main stand focusing on areas and BETTER farm challenges such as herd health, breeding, grassland management, meeting the markets and dealing with the current drought and fodder problems.

The farm is no different to many farms across the country and is feeding both silage and concentrates in an effort to prolong the rotation and save what grass covers are left.

Each of the stands generated a good discussion between the audience and the speakers which included members of the Irish Farmers Journal livestock team, the BETTER farm management team and local Teagasc B&T advisors.

Here are just some of the main quotes from the day:

"Going forward, Brian's farm is capable of producing a gross margin of €1210/ha, a rise of almost €400/ha in five years” – Tommy Cox, Teagasc BETTER farm programme adviser.

“Reducing the calving spread has definitely reduced the labour on the farm. I like the black Limousin cows, lots of milk and easy calved” – Brian Doran, host BETTER farmer.

“Grazing infrastructure, soil fertility, grazing management and reseeding are the most important points of grassland management, in that order” – Hugh Mahon, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“If you are to take only one thing from today, it is that lime is the single most critical factor in soil fertility and in growing more grass” – Bob Sheriff, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“There definitely isn’t enough knowledge around the pricing grid system among farmers” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

“Quality assurance is the bare minimum requirement from all our suooer market customers. It’s an absolute must for us when we are selling our beef.” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

Another walk is scheduled for 5pm this evening on Brian Doran’s farm. On Thursday, the Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef challenge will head west to Nigel O’Kane's farm in Co Galway for another two BETTER Farm beef challenge walks.

Read more

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