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Cereals Challenge 2014 – students preparing to win

Posted 4 March 2014

The Harper Adams Cereals Challenge team

A team of final year Harper Adams agriculture students are battling against five other universities in hope of winning the 2014 Cereals Challenge competition.

The competition involves growing a plot of winter wheat, with each team then being judged on their ability to make input decisions and control costs. Rory Galloway, Rosemary Homer, Jono Thomson and Tom Forrest are representing Harper Adams.

All plots will be judged the day before the annual Cereals event, with the winners announced on the first day of the show - June 11.

Team leader, 22-year-old Rory Galloway from Northampton studies BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management. He said: “We were really pleased our team was chosen to compete in the Cereals Challenge 2014 as it gives us great experience in providing real-life agronomy recommendations, not something any of us have done before.

“Although we have now made our fertiliser and spray recommendations, an interesting challenge is now deciding when to sell our grain and hopefully achieve the highest gross margin possible.

“The prize money is obviously an incentive to win, but more importantly it provides us with the opportunity to show the industry and other universities and colleges, what Harper students are made of!"

Also in the competition, which is organised by crop production specialists Hutchinsons and farm business management company Velcourt, are teams from Easton and Otley College, Newcastle University, Nottingham University, Riseholme College and the Royal Agricultural University.

The prize of £1,000 is to be shared between the winning students, with their college or university receiving £500 and the Cereals Challenge trophy.

Senior Lecturer in Agronomy, Louisa Dines, said: “The challenge is a great opportunity for the students to put into practice what they have learnt at Harper Adams and on their various placements. 

“Amongst assignment hand-ins, dissertations and job interviews, the team has managed to get together and produce technically and commercially sound recommendations which will hopefully stand up to the scrutiny of the industry judges and bring the trophy back to Harper Adams.”

Marks will be given out of 50 for each team’s technical merit and the quality and timeliness of their recommendations will be marked out of 15.
The students will also be given the chance to market their grain and will have to make sure that all costs and gross margins work out to their benefit.

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