Kildalton College in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, was the overall winner at the 2024 Macra and Teagasc colleges challenges day on 14 February.

Teams of 12 students from Teagasc and private agricultural colleges around the country competed in sport, presentations, and land-based skills learned during the college year, such as stock judging, tractor driving, fencing and teamwork challenges.

The winners of the different challenges were:

  • Tug of war – Kildalton College;
  • Simulator challenge – Clonakilty Agricultural College;
  • NBI farm business and technology award – Kildalton College;
  • FRS scholarship – Mountbellew Agricultural College;
  • Stock judging - Mountbellew Agricultural College;
  • Team tractor driving competition – Clonakilty Agricultural College;
  • FRS fencing – Clonakilty Agricultural College;
  • Problem solving competition – Kildalton College;
  • Final team challenge – Kildalton College;
  • Overall winners – Kildalton Agricultural College.
  • The Farm Relief Services (FRS) memorial scholarship presentation has been a long-term feature of the Macra and Teagasc colleges challenges day.

    The topic this year was 'Leadership in sustainability - focusing on biodiversity'.

    Broadband award

    Niall Beirne, head of strategic partnerships at National Broadband Ireland (NBI), commented that this year, the students were tasked with demonstrating how fibre broadband is benefiting their farm business.

    “In keeping with previous years, there was a very high standard, and it was clear to the judging panel that a significant amount of research and thought had gone into the submissions.

    "It was great to see different themes emerge, as the students highlighted productivity benefits, sustainability benefits, cost savings, as well as social connections as just some of the benefits of high-speed, reliable broadband.

    “It was great to hear firsthand the impact that NBI is having on the sustainable development of farms, as well as wider rural communities,” he said.

    Elaine Houlihan, Macra president, said that all students who participated in this year's college challenges day were exceptional.

    “Young farmers and rural people play a crucial role in our organisation, and it is great to see the up-and-coming generation of young farmers across the board. Congratulations to Kildalton College on winning this year's colleges challenge day," Elaine said.