Staff Directory - Terry Pickthall | Harper Adams University

Staff Directory

Terry Pickthall MEng

Lecturer & Placement Manager - Agriculture

Teaching Duties

I am responsible for managing the 12 month industrial placement undertaken by all our Agriculture students who are studying for BSc and FdSc degrees. Cohorts have ranged between 150 and 200 students a year, making this a substantive part of my role. My role includes extensive contact with our placement employers, which encompass all areas of the agri-food industry, including overseas.

I have developed and am module lead our "Skills for the Agricultural Professional" Module, which was launched in 2017 as part of the new BSc and FdSc Agriculture and routes curriculum. This module equips our first year students with a range of academic, professional, IT and learning skills. 

I have supervised a number of successful final year honours, degree and professional undergraduate research projects covering precision crop and dairy production. 

Between 2011 and 2016 I undertook teaching activities in support of placement preparation along with first year Personal Development and Introduction to Research Methods for Agriculture students. I have also supervise final year project students, specialising in agricultural mechanisation and the impact of precision farming in the UK

I taught a variety of subjects in the Engineering Department during the 2009/2010 and 2010/11 academic years as a visiting lecturer, covering the first year materials and manufacture, second year manufacturing systems and final year control systems and mechatronics modules.

Research Interests

  • Precision farming economics and implementation - paper published in 2017 - see below.
  • Recruitment techniques used for graduates and placement students
  • Preparation of undergraduate students for placement and the workplace
  • Managing student expectations and welfare whilst on placement
  • Materials science in agriculture
  • Knowledge transfer, technical authoring and open-access publishing

Professional Memberships

Fellow of the Higher Education Institute since 2012.

Academic Department: Crop and Environment Sciences

Tel: +44 (0)1952 815481 / 07896 531 429

Twitter: @Tez_Pickthall

Office: AC19 Aspire Centre


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Harper Adams University supports Food and Farming Futures, the online land-based library.

Other publications

  • Terry Pickthall & Emily Trivett (2017) An investigation into the barriers that prevent the adoption of precision farming technologies in combinable cropping in the UK. Aspects of Applied Biology 135 pp 29-38 (Paper given at the AAB Conference Precision systems in agricultural and horticultural production, Pershore College, Friday 27th October 2017.)
  • Pickthall, T. (2011) Are graduate-level recruitment techniques causing employers to turn away placement students? Practitioner Workshop, The ASET Conference 2011
  • Ianto Guy, Terry Pickthall (2009) The Influence of Chassis Design and Operating Conditions on Tractor Performance (A review of tractor chassis design, including the concept of lead ratio and the effects of scrock and wind-up on the transmission. Includes simple guidelines on how to minimise wind-up. Clicking on the title link above allows you to read and download the note in full, for free in the OpenFields online library.)
  • Leticia Chico-Santamarta, Terry Pickthall (2009) Measuring the Biomass Properties of Oilseed Rape Straw and Pellets (A technical note describing how the effect of storage period and conditions on the biomass fuel properties of Oilseed Rape straw and pellets have been measured. Clicking on the title link above allows you to read and download the note in full, for free in the OpenFields online library.)
  • Dave Allan, Terry Pickthall, Tom Underhill (2009) A Weapon of Maths Instruction - Experiential Learning in Engineering at Harper Adams (A technical note on the development of an experiential learning package based around a trebuchet. Clicking on the link allows you to read and download the note in full, for free in the OpenFields online library.)
  • Tom Underhill, Terry Pickthall (2009) Minimising whole body vibration risks to operators of agricultural and plant machinery (A technical note providing an introduction to Whole Body Vibration (WBV) and how research work at Harper Adams has shown that WBV can be easily reduced on a site-dumper truck. Clicking on the link allows you to read and download the note in full, for free in the OpenFields online library.)
  • Terry Pickthall (2009) ISOBUS - A Universal System for Implement Control (A technical note on the ISOBUS universal agricultural implement control system. Clicking on the link allows you to read and download the note in full, for free in the OpenFields online library.)
Additional Information

I am a professional Engineer by discipline, graduating with a Masters in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 1998.

Prior to working at the HAU, I spent ten years working in Industry, mostly in automotive quality and project management, but also in commercial energy sales and industrial market research. I spent five years at Bentley Motors Limited in Crewe, which included managing the quality of the Continental Flying Spur limousine project from concept to production.

I joined the the NRKE in January 2009 to develop my skills as a technical author. In September 2009 I also became a visiting lecturer in Engineering. In June 2010 I joined the Crops Department to take on the role of Placement Manager for all Agriculture and routes courses. I have always been interested in placement management and work-based learning ever since undertaking a five month industrial placement as part of my own degree. My teaching activities are primarily focused on Agriculture students, I continue to work with the Engineering Department on both teaching and research opportunities where possible. 

Other Roles

Between January 2009 and June 2010 I was based in the Harper-based National Rural Knowledge Exchange reach-out project, working on the management of our well established National Rural networking directory and the development of OpenFields, our new online library for the landbased sector.

In addition to the project-oriented tasks I also worked with the Harper Adams Engineering Department to produce informative technical notes and case studies for publication in Openfields. The notes I have produced so far cover topics as diverse as the impact of brand in the UK tractor market, tractive efficiency measurement in off road vehicles and the use of oil seed rape straw as a biofuel.


You can contact Terry Pickthall if you would like to discuss any of the following course modules:



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