As part of their final year, BSc (Hons) Agriculture students cover a wide variety of modules, including Applied Crop Protection - which enables students to make informed decisions on appropriate protection measures for major Northern European arable crops.
This year, students visited Whitley Manor Farm in Newport, Shropshire – a recent addition to the Hutchinsons’ national Helix network as their first Agroecology Farm.
Agroecology - or regenerative farming- is a method of farming that looks for ways of working with nature on farms – driven by the need to follow a more holistic, environmentally focused path.
Here’s what fourth year student, Tia Johnson had to say about the trip.
As a final year student studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture (Top-up), I am studying a wide range of modules which includes Applied Crop Protection.
This module has allowed me to further develop my knowledge of crop protection with practical sessions and field visits demonstrating how material taught in the classroom is used in ‘real life’. My initial reason for choosing to study at Harper Adams was the excellent facilities and standard of teaching, which has been demonstrated along with the valuable support of staff and university services throughout my four years of study.
Field visits such as the recent trip to a Helix Farm, kindly organised and hosted by Hutchinsons, is invaluable in demonstrating the application of taught material in the field. It allows students to link material from lectures to current industry practices and learn about the latest advances in practices and technologies in the sector.
The visit consisted of talks from industry professionals and students were able to learn about the application and use of Terra Maps and Omnia. Having the opportunity to learn about the technology in greater detail was a benefit as it built on the previous application of Omnia as part of our module assignment. Incorporating the technology into assessments and learning is something I believe improves the learning experience at Harper Adams as it develops key skills that are beneficial to students as future professionals in the industry.
Other talks during the day consisted of the latest advice on Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and financial planning to manage and mitigate risk. Talks from the Hutchinson’s employees were able to further expand on known theories with the benefit that speakers were all specialists in their field, meaning they were able to provide a greater level of detail on each of the topics.
Students had the opportunity to engage in talks about the future of crop production and how factors such as the loss of BPS, reduction in the availability of effective crop protection products and volatility of input prices were impacting producers. Input from the specialists who are working with farmers to project for these changes gave an insight into how the industry is currently tackling these challenges. Discussions elaborated on how future planning is incorporating these factors and how they are providing further opportunities for producers.
The visit was finished with a delicious hog roast and individual quiz. The quiz allowed us to reflect on what we had learnt, rounding off a great trip out.
Thanks must be extended to the lecturers who put extra effort into organising these external visits and whose enthusiasm for the subject is shared through delivery of taught material, making lectures a fun and engaging learning experience.