The farm has benefitted in recent years from a continuous rolling investment programme. To date developments costing over £1 million, have allowed the farm to position itself not only as a leading provider of agricultural training and education, but also as one of the most innovative dairy farms in the region.
Students have daily access to the farm’s exemplar resources through timetabled teaching, together with practical farm duties which take place throughout the year.
The milking parlour showcases the latest computerised monitoring technology systems that enable maximum reproductive and nutritional performance from the herd. This allows students to monitor individual cow performance on a daily basis. On average our cows produce 9,500 litres of milk per cow per year. Investment in the installation of new cubicles has helped ensure that the farm continues to operate to high welfare standards.
The sheep enterprise currently consists 150 cross bred ewes and Texel rams. The flock includes Llanwenog ewes which are part of a long term research project with the Llanwenog Sheep Breed Society. The college has a show team of pedigree Texels and students have had successes on the south west show circuit. Lambing takes place in January to ensure students are involved in the complete cycle of producing finished lambs.
The use of a computerised recording programme will enables the analysis of different breeds' ability to produce the right conformation and weight of lamb in the shortest time possible. The collection, input and analysis of this data will further involve students and teaching staff.
A number of Beef sires are used on the Dairy herd for comparison. We have access to a large commercial Beef unit in the village of Cannington for students to gain skills in this sector.
Arable and Machinery
The land currently used for arable production has a cropping rotation programme in which spring wheat and maize are grown, together with Italian ryegrass and red clover.
Once a basic level of competence has been reached in machinery operations, students go on to utilise the full range of modern equipment used in farm related operations such as ploughing, drilling and mowing, fertiliser application and harvesting. In addition, several hectares are allocated for student trial plots each year.
The current estate management plan enables all students to participate in the maintenance and management of other aspects of the College land, such as fencing, hedge laying, coppicing and dry stone walling.