The ‘steaks’ are high for Davis Col­lege stu­dents

MAL­LOW TEAM TAKE CHARGE OF CALVES UN­DER AN­GUS BEEF COM­PE­TI­TION

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

A QUARTET of en­ter­pris­ing stu­dents from Davis Col­lege in Mal­low are set to ‘ beef up’ their CVs after tak­ing charge of five Ir­ish An­gus calves as part of their role in a pres­ti­gious sec­ondary schools com­pe­ti­tion.

Ear­lier this year the team of Pierce Buck­ley, Noah But­ler, Roisin Scully and Emily O’Cal­laghan were among 34 to be short­listed from schools across the coun­try to take part in the 2017 Certified Ir­ish An­gus Beef com­pe­ti­tion.

At the re­cent Na­tional Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships they, along with four other win­ning teams, were pre­sented with their own mini herds by RTÉ’S Miriam O’Cal­laghan.

Hav­ing spent three days en­joy­ing the at­mos­phere of the event and chat­ting to cu­ri­ous farm­ers about the com­pe­ti­tion, the stu­dents are now get­ting down to the hard work of rear­ing the calves over the next 18-months be­fore the animals are sent to slaugh­ter in 2019.

In ad­di­tion to rear­ing the calves, each of the schools will com­plete a de­tailed project fo­cus­ing on a dif­fer­ent as­pect of farm­ing and the food chain.

These will in­clude such is­sues as men­tal health and well-be­ing among farm­ers, the vi­a­bil­ity of Dairy Cross An­gus beef pro­duc­tion, the im­por­tance of Ir­ish agri­cul­ture and the role of pro­duc­tion plan­ning.

The team from Davis Col­lege has been tasked with analysing the fac­tors that af­fect the qual­ity of beef, ex­plor­ing its flavour pro­file and de­vel­op­ing a cre­ative ap­proach to high­light­ing its ver­sa­til­ity and mak­ing beef more ap­peal­ing to chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

The project is aimed at giv­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply their class­room knowl­edge to real-life set­tings and en­cour­ag­ing sec­ond-level stu­dents to gain a greater un­der­stand­ing of the care and at­ten­tion needed to pro­duce and mar­ket top qual­ity beef.

The prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence they gain through par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ini­tia­tive will also be of sub­stan­tial ben­e­fit to to the stu­dents in their agri­cul­tural sci­ence and busi­ness stud­ies and could play a piv­otal role in their third level choices.

In ad­di­tion to keep­ing the money they make from sell­ing the calves to pro­ces­sors at the end of the project, each of the teams will also re­ceive a grant of €2,000 to­ward the cost of their fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

Charles Smith of the Ir­ish An­gus Pro­ducer Group, which runs the ini­tia­tive along with ABP Ireland and the Kepak Group, said judges were im­pressed with the de­tailed sub­mis­sion ini­tially made by the Davis Col­lege team.

“In fact, the judg­ing panel were in­cred­i­bly im­pressed with the cal­i­bre of project ideas and the thought, plan­ning and time that each of the 34 short­listed schools put in. The panel, which is com­prised of lead­ing fig­ures within the Ir­ish agri-food in­dus­try found it al­most im­pos­si­ble to nar­row it down to just five,” said Mr Smith.

“We are de­lighted with the fi­nal re­sult and know that the Mal­low team and the other four fi­nal­ists will bring some­thing unique to the com­pe­ti­tion,” he added.

Davis Col­lege stu­dent Pierce Buck­ley, Roisin Scully, Emily O’Cal­laghan and Noah But­ler with Miriam O’Cal­laghan at the re­cent Na­tional Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships.

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