To study agriculture at Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre you don’t have to be from a farming background, in fact students come from a variety of backgrounds and locations.
Not only do our agriculture and land management courses give students the practical skills to manage livestock and crops, but they also develop knowledge and understanding of agriculture as a bigger picture, exploring the environmental impact of farming and ways to improve farming techniques for the future.
We have invested heavily in our agriculture and food resources across the college, and offer students the opportunity to put theory into practice and gain valuable experience in livestock, crops and machinery to embed into work experience and employment opportunities.
Here is what the students say about the past month or so:
As we are approaching the end of our second year, assignments are on the top of everyone’s to do list. Recently I have taken on a new task of researching and writing a report for the Llangwenog Sheep Society with the small flock of Llangwenogs we have on the College farm. My report is going to be based around mothering ability and lambing ease, which I will compare against other breeds on the farm.
As well as this, my family and I are in the process of writing a tender for a farm. This always tests my knowledge of my business management lessons from last year. Having the chance to expand my pedigree Texel flock and start commercial farming would be a dream come true as many young people don’t get a chance like this.
Just recently I have purchased six new pedigree Texel ewes to add to my flock who are all in lamb to high quality rams. I bought these from a local breeder where I also bought my stock ram. With only a matter of weeks till lambing, preparation is key when lambing pedigree ewes like these. The diet of the ewes is the most important part to guarantee a successful lambing and if this is wrong I may need the vet in or even lose lambs, something I cannot afford with a small enterprise like mine.
Throughout the past month the College farm has come under new management with new plans in mind to increase our knowledge of modern techniques of farming. Those of us who applied for university courses via UCAS may have received a conditional placement for our desired university or college.
I have just undertaken my final supervisory duties of milking, which I felt was an advantage as dairy isn’t one of my strong areas in farming. In our workshop practical we have designed and made a silage pusher from scratch, using different techniques and fabrication methods, this was then decided to be continued outside of our course time by the students making the implement. This is now being used on the college farm.
I have also acquired myself a new job, I am working on a dairy farm of 280 cows with another 250 young stock and replacement heifers. My job requires me to do yard work and feed the dairy herd and young stock.
Back in the workshop at home, work and college we have been servicing and repairing grass and cultivation equipment for when conditions allow us to undertake field work. Alongside this a small group of mechanisation students including myself went up to Peterborough, to LAMMA 2016 which was very beneficial and allowed us to see a wider range of machines in relation to what we normally use.
I am now at the start of our second term back at College. This month I attended the LAMMA machinery show up in Peterborough. I couldn't believe the size of the machinery! When I got back home it made the tractors we have at our farm look really small.
We have also had a careers day at college this month where different companies came in to talk to us about many different options for our future. I have also recently completed my second set of duties where I was working with young stock, I managed to achieve 49/50 on my marks which I was very pleased with.
So here I am starting my second term at Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre. It really doesn’t feel like I’ve only been here one term, because I have learnt so much and enjoyed all of it, even the 4am starts for duties.
What’s going on in January? Well for me January marks the second week of my duties, afternoons. At least this time I won’t have to get up so early!
We have already had a talk from Yara, about fertilisers which sets us up in a good position for our upcoming assignment in Grassland Management.
I also enjoyed going to LAMMA, an agricultural machinery show, in Peterborough, to gain knowledge on a subject which is rather weak for me. However, is a subject I would really want to learn more about.
New Year new start! So here we are in 2016 I’m up to date with all my assignments and I’m ready to take every opportunity which comes my way.
With a new year I have decided to make some new year’s resolutions. I want to keep on top of my assignments and not to fall behind. If I don't understand something I will discuss further in my 1:1s with lectures. I would also like to complete some short technical courses for example foot trimming, AI course and telehandler/forklift.
Our practicals have been really good so far this month we have injected the College’s sheep against clostridial disease. We have also used the loader tractor to load trailers to clear out the sheds. We also had a careers day where we had lots of different businesses come talk to us about what different companies have to offer. Overall I am having a really good start to the term.