Second year students on our FdSc (Hons) Agriculture course have recently completed their interviews with the Duchy of Cornwall’s Land Stewards. The Stewards scrutinised the viability of the farming systems proposed by the students, following the submission of tenancy applications for Carglonnon Farm on the Duchy of Cornwall’s Duloe estate, near Liskeard.
Students had the chance to experience the whole process of tendering for a farm tenancy, providing an excellent opportunity to put their theory into practice. They were given the full particulars of the farm and were able to visit the vacant farm and farmhouse with the Duchy of Cornwall Land Steward team, replicating a farm viewing day.
As part of the students’ Strategic Business Planning module, they had to provide a full application and business plan with detailed financial information, including profit and loss budgets, cashflow forecasts and balance sheet information in a precise, but concise format. Of particular importance this year was the Duchy of Cornwall’s interest in the ‘natural capitals’ across its estate i.e. access, biodiversity, historic environment, landscape, soil and water. The Duchy’s belief is that ‘the longer term farming future will be dependent upon environmental support payments related to the protection and enhancement of natural capitals’. Students needed to clearly demonstrate their understanding of these concepts and how they would apply them within their applications.
Students were also advised by Jamie Blake of the Rural Business School’s Farm Business Survey, Tim Burston, Agricultural Manager with Lloyds Bank and local farmer, Mark Thomas, a member of The Prince’s Council, a non-executive body which provides advice to His Royal Highness regarding the management of the Duchy of Cornwall estate.
Chris Matthews, Deputy Land Steward of Duchy of Cornwall’s Western District, commented, “As ever, there was a good standard of applications and we very much enjoyed reading and discussing the farming systems proposed for Carglonnon Farm. Clearly a tremendous amount of thought and work went into the submissions, which was reflected in their high standard and less variability this year. Students were very positive about the future of agriculture and demonstrated their long term commitment to the industry”.
Duchy Agri-Young Innovators Forum
The Duchy Discussion group most recently met to discuss the new ‘Farm Crap App Pro’. The evening allowed group members to have the opportunity to test and provide critical feedback for the new and unreleased app.
The Farm Crap App Pro is a collaborative project between Duchy College and Rothamsted Research North Wyke to develop an easy to use, accurate and reliable way to manage and record slurry spreading information and data on manure.
The finished app will include the ability to comply with Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations, as well as the new Farming for Water rules alongside the ability to truly integrate manure and slurry applications with bagged fertiliser to allow for environmental protection and economic benefits.
New features include:
- the ability to map all the fields on your farm
- individual crop nutrient recommendations from RB209, to allow you to complete field nutrient plans
- the ability to take into account applications of compost, digestate and other products, including your own data from slurry or manure analysis
- the ability to take into account the application method (dribble bar, trailing shoe, injection) and account for the increased nutrient availability that comes with these bits of kit
- the ability to include applications of bagged fertiliser.
Group member, Ryan Renfree said,”This is one of the best meetings we have ever had. It was really hands on and exciting to have an input into the finalisation of the new app”. The app developers really encouraged the group to put the app through its paces and criticise any flaws or pick out things which had the potential to be improved. The evening finished with a group discussion about which areas of improvement were priority and general feedback from the group. The new app looked really promising and is sure to be an extremely useful tool for farmers.
In a bid to help tackle the number of accidents that take place on farms, agricultural colleges in the region are continuing to highlight the issue among students.
The number of fatal accidents on farms is refusing to drop, with 158 people killed in the last five years, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Farm safety experts spent a day working with around 60 Agriculture apprentices and students at Duchy College Stoke Climsland to highlight the issues.