North Shropshire College is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Farm Manager Richard Aldis. Richard started work on Monday 4th January 2016 and brings with him a wealth of experience. Richard has progressed through the farming world having graduating in Agriculture, he became a Herdsperson and then went into Dairy Management gaining knowledge on different systems before gaining a tenancy with the National Trust on a 650 acre farm on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire borders, which included its own farm shop. After 10 years Richard furthered his career by managing two open farms offering educational access through Sandwell Valley in the West Midlands.
Chris Jones, Director of Walford Campus comments, ‘Richard’s vast amount of experience in dairy, beef and sheep enterprises will support the ever increasing pressures to increase revenue while at the same time lowering cost of production.’ This is a very challenging time for the Agricultural Industry in general and it is all about cost of production and producing products whether this is milk, beef, lamb, wheat etc. as cheaply as possible whilst at the same time maintaining quality.
The College is very fortunate to be able to demonstrate two very different dairy farming systems at its Walford Campus. The farm has two dairy herds – firstly, the UK grassland system where the cows are milked through a more conventional herringbone (24/24) parlour, housed on cubicles and complete diet fed in the winter and using a paddock grazing system in the summer. The second system is where the cows are milked multiple times through a robotic milking machine, kept inside all year round on straw yards and demonstrate a high input and output system. Chris Jones comments, ‘We are not saying which system is better than the other, but our students can make their own minds up which will influence their decisions in the future.’
The farm is gearing up for the lambing season and it will be not long before the first lambs are born. The ewes are still outside at the moment grazing on the abundance of new ley grass that was sown in the autumn. Soon the flock will be separated into groups using the information from the recent scanning event and splitting the flock up into groups of ewes that are carrying singles, doubles and triplets and feeding them accordingly to their maintenance requirements. Lambing will start at the beginning of March and continue throughout the month. Students have a great involvement with the farm and one of the trials that will take place is the measurement of live weight gains between the Suffolk and Texel lambs.
The College’s annual Spring Lambing Open Day will be taking place on Sunday 20th March 2016, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. More information will be available via the website at www.nsc.ac.uk. If anyone would like to exhibit at the event or have a stall, contact Lucy Evans, Marketing Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.