Some of the region’s top agricultural apprentices have travelled to the home farm of HRH the Prince of Wales to see best practice in action.
The Level 4 Agricultural Business Management apprentices at Duchy College had a packed itinerary, which included visiting the Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove, Gloucestershire to look around the organic dairy herd of Ayrshires, beef herd and to discuss how the farm works with the natural environment to be successful.
Apprentice, Ben Edwards, said the farm visits and residential “have been inspiring”.
“Having met people who dare to be creative and farm differently to the norm with regards to the production, but also the sale retail versus wholesale for example, it’s definitely kept me up at night thinking,” he continued.
The following day saw the group visiting Forsyth Farming in Warwickshire where they met William Forsyth, a third generation arable farmer who contracts farms for clients. William gave the students a breakdown of his machinery costs and the pros and cons of having all your own equipment.
“It’s always great to show an interested group around the business,” William asserted.
“The apprentices asked some excellent questions and arable farmers who contract farm for clients mounting to 1900 acres. William gave the students a good breakdown of his machinery costs, the pros and cons of having all your own kit, between 2015-2017 William has spent £580,000+ on machinery. It was excellent students could ask open and frank questions to William and he was open in admitting what he has been successful in but also very much what he hasn’t, the lessons learnt and the changes he made, which the student appreciated the open discussions and put things in perspective.I was quite open about what had been successful and what hadn’t.”
Ben said the Level 4 course has developed him as an individual and taken him from being a “competent ‘high level workman’ to being in a more managerial position”.
“The contacts I have made throughout the course are sure to become some use, they have already come in handy for my own business in terms of technical performance and also the business management side of things with partial budgets,” he added.
Level 4 Course Manager, Peter Reed, said having a study trip gives another dynamic to the programme and the students learning experience.
“The idea is to bring all the delivery sessions together and see it happening in the work environment,” he continued.
“Highgrove Home Farm and Forsyth Farming gave the students an insight into successfully producing food on a commercial scale, whilst enhancing the environment and the importance of investing in your staff to ensure fully productivity is met.”