At Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre, Rodway Farm is an essential educational resource which both compliments and reinforces in-class academic learning.
All of our students are provided with practical work and management experience throughout their course. The daily farming operations are carried out by students with supervision and support from staff during the year.
Students play a fundamental important role in all aspects of the farm’s operation, including enterprise development and management, production, equipment maintenance, and financial planning. The farm supports practical, hands-on education for students in sustainable agriculture and foods systems.
The last month as been a busy one for everyone here at Rodway Farm. Lambing has been in full swing but is now easing off with only a few still to lamb. The sheep at College have lambed very well this year, including the new North Country Mules which were bought in lamb earlier in the year.
Lambing at home has been slow but good, with lots of pedigree Texel ewes and rams on the ground to increase the size and quality of my flock. I have recently had my MV accreditation blood tests to be able to sell at the larger breed sales and show my sheep. I am looking forward to progressing the quality of my flock and am hoping to buy in more stock.
Writing this column has led to me reflect on my success over the last two academic years and the fantastic time I’ve had during this period. My experiences have enabled me to look to the future and make the most of any opportunities that come my way. I plan to expand my experience in the agricultural industry for a year before returning to Bridgwater College to study at a Foundation Degree in Agricultural Management. This, I hope, will stand me in good stead for a successful career in an ever changing and exciting industry.
Throughout the last month at College our theory teaching has come to a close and we are focusing on completing our assignments as quickly as possible, even more so now that the weather is starting to improve.
The Rodway Young Farmers are again holding their Grass to Maize charity event for Help for Heroes and The Farming Community Network, which is scheduled to take place on the Monday 25 April so all the organisation is under way. We have also had our Easter break within the last month so I’ve been able to work at home getting the spring crops in and undertaking some maintenance on the grass land machinery, in readiness for first cut silage.
We are still waiting for the grass ground to dry up a little bit more before turning cattle out to pasture. Some of our fat cattle are up to their finished weight limit so they are booked in to slaughter unfortunately with a forever falling price per kilo! Along with working at home I have been working on another farm, getting slurry on the fields ready for maize to be drilled towards the end of the month.
The last month has primarily been all about lambing and turning the lambs out into the field, with all students having completed lambing duties. It’s great seeing the lambs out and bouncing about with their mums. It’s definitely the best time of the year, with new life about and the days getting longer, which means one thing…silage season is on its way!!!
Over recent years Rodway Young Farmers, have organised an event called Grass to Maize in 24hours which is where the members of Rodway complete the process of silaging and reseeding in just 24 hours all in aid of charity; this year our two charities are Help for Heroes and Farming Community Network. This event is due to take place at the end of April, with many machinery companies allowing us to use their machines for the event, which we are very grateful for.
I have recently finished my third set of duties this year, which has been a bit of a wake-up call, meaning that I am nearing the end of my first year at Rodway Farm, Bridgwater College!
Over the past couple of weeks we have been busy lambing and I have completed my lambing duties overnight, where I lambed a set of triplet’s, four doubles and a single. I thoroughly enjoyed my duties, however the following day without sleep was a bit tricky!
We are in the process of sorting out our charity event which is Grass to Maize where we have to do all of the ground work within the 24hrs. Hopefully this all goes well and next month you will hear about how it all went and how much we managed to raise.
Before we broke up for the two weeks Easter break, the College purchased a Lely robot to push up the silage to the cows every two hours to increase the cow’s food intake and hopefully increase their milk production in the herd. During our machinery practical’s we have had experience in spreading a lot of the dung from overwintering cattle and also completed ploughing.
Lambing is nearly over and its lovely to see the lambs out playing in the fields. On my last duties I managed to get 50/50 which I was extremely proud of I only have one lot of duties left. I am also going to do my telehandler test which I will hopefully pass. I’m up to date with all my assignments, and also driving lessons are going extremely well. I’m really enjoying College and looking forward to taking every opportunity that comes my way.