Latest statistics from the CAO show a fall in students first preferences for agricultural and horticultural courses.

The statistics show that many students’ preference has turned to professions popular during the boom times such as the traditional professions and construction-related courses.

Some 595 students put down an agricultural course as their first CAO preference this year compared to 734 in 2014 a fall of 18%.

Last year the points for the country’s flagship Agricultural course Ag Science in UCD jumped to 465 on the back of increased demand from students for the course. Back in 2007, Ag Science in UCD was 315 points.

The CAO points system is driven by demand, with the most ‘popular’ courses commanding high points.

Ag Science had gained popularity in recent years, with the number of points required to gain entry to the course increasing year on year reflecting the positive outlook many have for the agricultural industry.

In 2014, the Ag Science course at UCD now commanded the same entry points as Computer Science with Business in Trinity College.

The other agricultural science programmes at UCD have points as follows in 2014: Animal Science (Equine) 425; Dairy Business 445; Food Science 490; Forestry 375; Horticulture 395.