I am a… forage specialist
“The university opened my eyes up to the agricultural industry outside of Cornwall” says Lucy Williams, who now lives in West Wales, an area she fell in love with during placement.
After graduating with a degree in Agriculture with Land and Farm Management* in 2011, the 25-year-old is now a Forage Specialist for Mole Valley Farmers Forage Services, and a qualified FACTS fertiliser advisor.
“My job includes soil sampling, putting together nutrient plans for farmers and assisting with fertiliser decisions, walking fields looking at compaction, grass species, weeds and putting together plans for farmers according to their priorities.
“The company was looking for someone with an agricultural qualification and background, an outgoing and enthusiastic personality, with a passion for farming.”
Harper Adams, she says “made me confident to meet new people and introduce myself on farm as well as giving her an up to date knowledge of agricultural issues.
Lucy spent her placement year at Huw Bryn Farm, which has welcomed many Harper Adams students. As well as pitching in with a wide variety of farm-based tasks it gave her the opportunity to explore a new part of the UK and make lots of new friends and contacts, which made it very easy for her to settle back in the area.
All Agriculture students must have ten weeks relevant work experience before starting their course – Lucy worked in a professional show jumping yard in North Yorkshire which, along with other part-time jobs, gave her the required experience and helped her develop confidence and applied skills.
*This course has now been replaced with BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management
Some facts about FACTS
Whilst a trainee Forage Specialist Lucy took the BASIS - Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme (FACTS) course that leads to the Certificate of Competence in Fertiliser Advice.
The course is ideal for advisers, representatives, farmers and farm managers involved in arable crop production and management. Harper Adams University runs the FACTS course alongside a range of BASIS courses, delivered as short courses. The FACTS course is delivered as an intensive five-day block followed by an exam. It contributes to the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy and the Harper Adams University Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management.
The course has the following modules:
- The soil in relation to plant nutrition.
- The nature and properties of fertilisers.
- Organic fertilisers.
- Crop nutrients and the basis for calculating the amount of fertiliser required.
- Use of fertilisers on the main crop groups in the UK.
- Transport, storage, handling and labelling requirements necessary to protect the environment.
- Codes of good agricultural practice, legal and safety requirements to protect the environment.
For further information visit harper.ac.uk/FACTS