Watch: The new way to train ‘ag’ students how to drive tractors

Learning how to drive a tractor can be a daunting task for someone who has little experience of these machines. This is something that Teagasc’s Kildalton Agricultural College is very aware of, as new students enter the farmyard each year.

On the other side of things some students may be over confident in their ability and may be oblivious to some of the dangers associated with such powerful machines. This is why staff at Kildalton decided to trial a farming simulator.

It is hoped that in time students will complete and pass a module on the farming simulator before graduating to the real thing in the farmyard or the field.

The simulator allows for a student’s driving ability to be examined, but also teaches them what they need to be aware of when operating machinery, such as checking oil levels before starting up a machine.

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Francis Quigley – a machinery specialist at Teagasc – showed AgriLand how the simulator works and the plan for the future.

Once students complete the basics they can move onto tasks such as baling or driving a combine.

The simulator can even provide difficult driving conditions like lodged cereal crops and force the driver to adapt to their surroundings.

If the machine breaks down in the field the driver must return to the farmyard and start all over again, but the good news is it’s virtual so better to happen on-screen than on the real machine.