Combining farming technology with the safety of animals is becoming more common practice. But what about technology that keeps the people working on the farm safe too? BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student Sophie Bell is incredibly passionate about the subject, and offered to share her thoughts with us.
“Farm safety should be the priority on every farm,” Sophie began. “Accidents on farms are a continuing cause of concern. The number of farm accidents are not decreasing and similar accidents are happening each year. For the situation to improve, the practical engagement of farmers’ is essential for progress. Despite the large amount of work being put into farm safety and awareness, I feel like we need to do more.
“There’s so much out there in terms of farm technology: having apps to record all farm records such as breeding, compliance and grass growth; even technology to tell us about cows in heat and when a cow is going to calve - we have become so advanced in recent years. Why isn’t there more out there to protect ourselves on the farm? Perhaps there are some products out there already, however I think they need to be promoted more. Investing in a simple device could save a life.”
This knowledge of farm tech has been garnered during her time at university and taken back home to Ireland to apply as seen on Sophie’s Instagram.
Sophie does not just consider technology while working out on the farm. She worked as part of the marketing team at Irish Hereford Prime during her placement year and has been able to see how important farm technology is sold at events to improve the safety of animals and workers.
Along with this, Sophie’s placement year saw her travel with work. She commented: “I had the opportunity to go to Herefordshire to visit several pedigree farms which was a great experience.”
With a love for the breed she worked with, Sophie will be returning to Harper to complete her final year of studies, researching the effects of total mixed ration feed (TMR). She explained: “I want to understand the effects of TMR on calves’ health. If a TMR is mixed correctly, it ensures the animal is getting all the right nutrition, so it will be interesting to see the health effects of this on calves.
“I have always been interested in the calves and studying them. It’s a very well researched field so it’s hard to find a gap but I think this may be the right gap for me to fill."
Although initially drawn to Harper by the support and clubs there to help Irish students settle into campus life; the balance of practical to classroom based learning; and the experience gained on placement, Sophie is now looking forward to completing her studies and getting out into the field. When asked about what she was most looking forward to about the coming academic year, she said: “Getting back to a proper routine will be great even if that might be a different kind of one to usual due to Covid-19.
“Placement has opened my eyes to what is out there and the opportunities. I just need to put in a few more months of hard work to get there.
“I really enjoy being at Harper Adams and having everything on my doorstep. I look forward to seeing my friends too and I hope we can continue as normal with our graduations in a year’s time. I am also looking forward to graduating and getting started in the real world.”
And, to get started, Sophie will be keeping her eyes peeled for opportunities at home, prepared to take on any role that excites her.
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