Aisling Neville and Ellen Fitzpatrick – two Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Agricultural Science graduates – were presented with the Dairymaster Agricultural Student Awards at this year’s National Ploughing Championships.
The awards recognise the achievements of Agricultural Science degree students who deliver the best presentation on their final year project; a total of ten candidates were shortlisted for the top prizes. Aisling’s final year project was about preventative methods used to prevent the harmful disease, Cryptosporidium parvum in dairy calves. The project was carried out over an 8 month period in which she monitored the growth rates of 4 groups of calves. The project used both autumn and spring born calves, 40 calves in total. The study compared two different C. parvum preventative treatments, Halocur and Auranta. Ellen’s project was an evaluation of grass quality for milk, beef and sheep production using efficient and environmentally sustainable chemical fertiliser. According to Ellen: “This involved three different grass varieties and 6 different fertiliser treatments in which the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions were measured along with a number of nutritive parameters such as DM and crude protein of theses grass samples. This measured the sustainability of the fertiliser treatments while also taking the nutritive value of grass into account.”