Agriculture conference an outstanding success at Hartpury


Hartpury College played host to the 54th Association of Lecturers in Agricultural Machinery (ALAM) Conference, with a host of members from across the UK sharing best practice in land-based engineering.

Throughout the five-day conference, there was a showcase of the latest machinery and equipment, including McConnel demonstrating its remote controlled grass cutter, Robocut.

As part of the practical element of the conference, members were also split into groups and put to the test, as they were set the task of building a bridge over a ravine that was effective enough to hold a Land Rover.

Delegates also visited Draper Tools in Hursley, where they were given a tour of all operations, with a focus on the quality assurance testing that the products have to go through before being made available for purchase.

They also benefited from an in-depth session on conservation tillage by Mzuri, who were able to highlight the effects that their specialist machinery and cultivation conservation has on crop establishment, yield and soil management.

At Hartpury, the delegates were given a tour of the college’s own commercial farm - Home Farm - including the arable land, dairy and game rearing units and they were given an insight into the shoot.

Amongst the guest speakers at the conference were directors from the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA), Safetyaide, and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), with all delivering presentations on current areas of the industry.

As part of a diversification theme the delegates visited Westons Cider, where they were given an insight into the blending and fermentation process, which can take up to eight months for particular flavours.

Finally a director from the Micron Group gave an in depth presentation on controlled droplet application (CDA) and ultra-low volume spraying (ULV), incorporating the regulatory framework, legislation and equipment innovation with a ‘peep’ into future developments.

Ian Coleman, lecturer in Land-based Technology at Hartpury, who is also chairman of ALAM, said: “It was a great five days in which we covered a wide variety of topics and looked at the latest machinery that is being used in the industry.

“The conference allowed us to be up-to-date with the latest developments, research and technology, plus who would turn down a visit to a cider factory?!”

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