Farming was a popular theme for students who entered the 2017 BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition.

Over 4,500 students will display their 550 projects at the 53rd annual exhibition which is taking place this week in the RDS in Dublin.

The event has a mixture of projects in areas including science, engineering, maths and technology.

Farming is a key theme which is being explored by some of the students at the event, with projects examining farm safety, energy sources, hygiene on a farm, animal husbandry and innovative ideas to help farmers.

The projects on display at the event highlighted the teamwork and clever ideas of students from right across the country, according to Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle.

The Minister spoke with some of the masterminds behind the projects, including a group of students from Co. Wicklow who designed two products to help with feeding and watering livestock.

Self-cleaning water trough

Oisin Cullen, Dylan Symes and Sam Ireland developed both a self-cleaning water trough and a funnel-style system for transferring feed ration from bulk storage to a bag.

They say the best ideas are always the simple ones, if you take the challenges of trying to clean out a dirty water drinker and you had a simple way of making sure it was clean you would use it.

“The same goes for the meal hopper for transferring meal. A lot of meal now buy their meal ration in half tonne bags from bulk.

“They are three young men who have actually come up and worked together and shown what a little bit of joined up thinking can do,” Minister Doyle said.

Farm safety

Farm safety was also high on the agenda of many students at the event. Jack Nagle from Killorglin Co. Kerry developed a device called ‘Tractor Safe Lock’.

The student’s device is designed to pull the handbrake on a tractor if the operator forgets to do so while getting down from the machine, an idea that came to Nagle following an accident involving his grandfather.

“One day my grandfather was getting off his tractor and he forgot to pull the handbrake.

So when he was on the step the tractor started to roll a and he went in under the wheel and he had a heart attack.

Slurry gases

The closed period for slurry spreading came to an end this week in parts of the country and students from Co. Limerick examined a method to deal with dangerous slurry gases. 

Mickey Byrnes and Michael Kelly created a fan style system to extract slurry gases from a shed when agitating.

“When you agitate slurry it releases the gases and when the fumes come up we have the fan to draw them out.

“The gases could kill you in 10 seconds, just one lungful of it,” Byrnes said.

Other farming related projects at the event saw students investigating the energy value of rushes as well as different types of livestock manure.