Farming Connect Study Visit - Glynllifon Agriculture and Engineering Students
Glynllifon Agriculture and Engineering Students
East of England
2 - 5 May 2022
Glynllifon college students’ educational journey to expand their knowledge of arable farming and modern machinery.
A visit to Holkham Estate to meet a former student who is a farm manager.
This is intended for students to be able to evaluate options relating to work after leaving college.
A visit to the CLAAS Machinery Headquarters site in Bury St Edmunds for a presentation on the company and how they distribute and support their machines in the United Kingdom.
A visit to the LAMMA show to see the latest agricultural machinery.
Most of the visits will be dedicated to agricultural units, and the understanding and knowledge will be a help for the upcoming assignments and exams.
Gethin Glyn Jones
Owain Endaf Morris
Iwan Puw Thomas
2.1 Day 1
A visit to the Houghton Hall estate in the morning.
The estate is farmed by Cholmondeley Farms Limited, with nearly 3,800 acres in Norfolk and nearly 2,000 acres in Cheshire. Students had the opportunity to visit Village Dairy Farm, a dairy farm that milks almost 600 Jersey cows on an organic system; they visited the parlour, toured around the cattle that were outside grazing with one of the farm managers, and also saw and learned about the Lleyn sheep lambing system on the estate. There was also an opportunity to have a presentation on the arable enterprise on the estate, and see a few of the crops and machinery, before heading past the manor-house to see the pedigree breeding herd grazing on the organic parks, before getting a quick glance at the deer that were also on the estate. It was explained that the main reason the estate was keeping stock was because of a vision in the manor-house that generations needed to be farming in a hundred years or more, and to do that, the nutrients had to be put back into the land and soil structure fed, which enables absorption by the crops in the area.
50:100 milking parlour
600 organic Jersey cows
A drill that sows and weeds without the use of herbicides
Afternoon visit to Holkham estate
Visit the farm manager, who is a former Glynllifon student. An opportunity for learners to see the implications of future career progression, and also to broaden their understanding of farming a completely different landscape and climate from their family farms back home. They had the opportunity to visit the manor-house, the tower that’s been erected on the estate’s land in honour of Lord Coke, before going on to visit the Anaerobic Digester on the estate, which produces gas for the National Grid, and have a presentation on how it works and how the estate and the land itself benefits from the waste.
We then had the opportunity to visit the estate machinery yard to see the wide range of different machines, and gain insight into how technology is used on the machines, with maintenance tasks, and even with tasks as simple as keeping a record of how much fuel is left in the tank and when more needs to be ordered. After visiting the different machinery, we went on to see the crops out on the fields, such as barley and wheat, before staying in a field that was being prepared and planted with potatoes. This was a great opportunity to gain an understanding of the preparatory work that goes on to prepare a soil bed for the potatoes. Then two other managers from the estate came to join us and share their knowledge and answer questions about the current crops and enterprises.
Before leaving the estate, we visited the stock enterprise, to see the breeding herd and the sheep flock in the new buildings. It was coming to the end of lambing season, but sheep were still in the sheds.
The tower that has been erected to honour Lord Coke for his work in agriculture
The farm’s anaerobic digester
Former Glynllifon student, Connor Tindall-Read, Holkham farm manager, discussing the machinery
The herd’s shelter in Holkham
2.2 Day 2
Visit to CLAAS UK.
An opportunity to visit the headquarters and distribution centre of the worldwide manufacturers of agricultural machinery, CLAAS. Members of staff gave a presentation, discussing the company’s history, sales and the future. Then there was time to visit the new machinery, and the CLAAS engineer training workshop.
There was time to see the training exhibition and showroom for new customers – an amazing place. The company had lots of second-hand machinery to show, and the company representative discussed how and what the process of owning a CLAAS machine was.
A fantastic lunch was prepared, and there was time to discuss opportunities within the company and how the company develops staff.
Lecture on CLAAS as a company
CLAAS UK Reception
Some of the machines in stock
A visit to Matt Harding, Bentley Suffolk – a Suffolk sheep farmer who has won the Farmers Weekly sheep innovator of the award in 2021. Students had the chance to see a special Suffolk flock in the Leicester area. Matt, the shepherd, was very innovative in his breeding programme, working tirelessly on improving some aspects of the flock. Flock health was vitally important to him, and he used recording systems to identify sheep with the strongest breeding lines.
His grazing systems were also very innovative, and he was a strong believer in using seeds with high levels of herbs and clover. Every animal on-farm was of an exceptionally good standard, and his hard work was reflected in the standard of stock.
Matt discussing his breeding programme and grazing systems
Matt and his family and Glynllifon students
2.3 Day 3
Visiting the largest indoor machinery show in the United Kingdom. It was a great opportunity for all learners to see the latest machinery in the industry, broaden their knowledge on different machinery, and also gather ideas for their second-year project unit. It was an excellent show, and we had the opportunity to discuss and chat with companies.
Engineering students at the LAMMA show
3 Next Steps
The visits showed modern, new systems, and innovative ways of farming. Clearly from all visits, feeding a growing population in a sustainable way is a priority for everyone. This is something that is reflected by the students in their last assignment when completing the venture and diversification task.
As half the learners are leaving college this year, most have seen ideas and options for improving their systems at home on the farm. One of the learners leaving college this year has taken up a full-time job on one of the farms we visited as part of the trip. Congratulations to him!
The learners who are returning to college in September are already discussing where we can go on our autumn trip!!!
On behalf of the college, I would like to sincerely thank Farming Connect for the financial and essential support given for some learners to attend. Also, I would like to thank all the hosts for the welcome we received. Each visit was a tribute to the hard work and tireless effort that these innovative people put into their work.