I’m Emily and I’m in my second year of my BSc (Hons) Agriculture degree at Hartpury University. I don’t come from a farming background – but the good news is that doesn’t matter! The course has given me plenty of theoretical and practical knowledge, and I’ve been able to build my own contacts.
Placements are fantastic for gaining extra experience
One of the best things about my agriculture degree is the amount of practical experience I get. We spend a lot of time out on the farm, putting what we’ve learnt in the classroom into practice. The course also includes a work placement, which helps you gain extra industry experience before leaving university. Another advantage is that it looks fantastic on your CV!
Hartpury is located in the heart of Gloucestershire, with easy access to the farming counties. This gives you a range of experiences to choose from and you can match your placement to your goals.
Here’s what I’ve been doing…
Having the farm on site is a huge advantage
Practical activities range from completing body condition and locomotive scores on dairy cattle, to crop walks, soil testing and texturing, and tractor driving. I hadn’t driven a tractor before, but my lecturer was supportive and made sure it was fun and safe. We got to try the John Deere self-steer and variable rate technology, which was an educational yet strange experience!
Having the farm on site is a huge advantage. You learn the theory and then you put it into practice straight away. The UK farming industry will undergo radical changes in technology, innovation, climate and consumer demands in the coming years, so it’s important to get a range of experience.
I developed my skills in so many different areas
Not coming from an agricultural background meant I had very little farm skills. My first placement was at Hartpury’s campus farm working with the calves. I gave them their morning and afternoon milk, their ear tags and injections as well as bedding up, mucking out, and dipping navels. I started helping out with TB testing and weighing too.
I decided I wanted to get more experience with sheep, so I volunteered to help with lambing at a local farm. I assisted with births, milked ewes, taught a lamb to suckle, administered vaccines and took blood – I learnt a lot very quickly!
We’ve had some really amazing trips too. We saw robotic milkers in action for my Agricultural Technologies module, and for our Pig and Poultry module, we went on trips to hatcheries to outdoor pig systems so we could see each stage of production.
Whatever course you take, you’re not just locked into just one subject. There are loads of animal handling experiences and sporting opportunities available to everyone at Hartpury. Make the most of as much as you can while you’re here!Read Emily's course experience blog