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Students prepare for winter wheat growing challenge

Posted 28 February 2011

Wendy Heyward, Johnny Colman, Sam Vaughan and Rob Cotton form the Harper Adams Cereals Challenge team

Four students from Harper Adams University College are hoping to grow a top crop of winter wheat to impress judges at one of the UK’s premier arable events, and win £1,000.

The aim of the Cereals Challenge, which will be exhibited at the Cereals event on June 15-16, is to grow and manage a plot of wheat for a year, paying particular attention to fungicides, plant growth regulators, nitrogen and herbicides.

The plots are then judged in terms of input costs assessment, estimate of crop yield, quality, timeliness and appropriateness of recommendations made, and the plot judging panel’s overall assessment.

Sam Vaughan, Wendy Heyward, Johnny Colman and Robert Cotton are the team representing the University College in Shropshire, and will be battling against students from Newham College East Ham campus, Newcastle University, Nottingham University, Lincoln University and Sparsholt College.

21-year-old Sam Vaughan is studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management. He said: “Our team was chosen from the entries in a random draw earlier this year and we’re now in the planning stages for the plot.

“I’m hoping that the experience I have gained from my placement at Atlas Fram Group and modules studied on my course at Harper Adams will help us to be victorious.”

The event is organised and hosted by crop production specialists, HL Hutchinsons, and farm management and technology providers, Velcourt. The winning team will receive a trophy, £1,000 to share between them and £500 for their college/university.

Johnny Colman, 22, spent his placement year with agri-business, Syngenta. He said: “We’re all really looking forward to this competition as it will give us a chance to be involved with hands-on agronomy and it is a good opportunity to try something new and different.”

Senior Lecturer in Agronomy, Louisa Dines, said: “The students selected themselves to be part of the team representing Harper Adams.

“I’m sure that they’ll do extremely well and I look forward to seeing the results.”

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