14 November 1997

An experience not easily forgotten…

With harvest and drilling

operations drawing to close

it is time for FARMERS

WEEKLYs two "adopted"

Brooksby College

agricultural students to

take stock of their year.

Andy Collings hears their

views

FEW will deny that harvest, followed by a frenetic period of cultivation and drilling, has a certain excitement about it. Long hours in which to do battle with the weather, the seasons and prevailing conditions.

But even the enthusiasm of the most devoted must begin to wane as the last few fields are finally shut up for the winter.

For students Phil Knight and Ted Duffin, currently experiencing a "year out" as part of their three-year NDA course at Brooksby College, the end of drilling has been met with mixed feelings.

On Bill Wrights 480ha (1200-acre) farm at Rothley, where Ted has been involved in virtually all aspects of harvest and cultivations, there was a distinct sense of relief.

"Its been hard but enjoyable," he says. "And the long hours have at least helped to make my bank balance look a little healthier."

Finances apart, with a season spent driving a JD3050 performing such tasks as corn cart, baling and rolling, has he changed his views on a career in agriculture?

"No. I still feel that this is the life for me," he insists. "But perhaps a little more balance between arable and livestock work would be on the cards in the future."

And on that score, with things slowing down, he can now find more time to help out at his parents farm where a 50-cow suckler herd is run.

But just what the immediate future holds for fellow student Phil Knight, remains to be decided.

Having spent the summer and a large part of the autumn working at Philip Burtts 1800ha (4500-acre) Brandon-based arable farm near Grantham, Lincs, Phil now faces redundancy.

"It always was a harvest and drilling job," he says. "A purely arable farm such as this cannot justify keeping surplus labour on all the year round."

Even so, its been an interesting time for Phil. With crops such as sugar beet, linseed, onions, carrots and potatoes to cope with, there has been a good opportunity to increase his knowledge significantly.

"The job Ive most enjoyed has been the drilling – even if I did manage to drill five acres or so with a blocked coulter," he admits – but then, who hasnt?

Has an all arable experience changed Phils views on future ambitions or plans?

"No, I dont think so. I feel quite at home working with machinery – rather more than livestock, particularly milking cows."

So, one mid-educational season under their belts, there remains another 10 months before the classroom beckons Phil and Ted.

But before then, farmers weekly will be back to see them – and discover how they have fared through the winter.n

With harvest and drilling

operations drawing to close

it is time for FARMERS

WEEKLYs two "adopted"

Brooksby College

agricultural students to

take stock of their year.

Andy Collings hears their

views

FEW will deny that harvest, followed by a frenetic period of cultivation and drilling, has a certain excitement about it. Long hours in which to do battle with the weather, the seasons and prevailing conditions.

But even the enthusiasm of the most devoted must begin to wane as the last few fields are finally shut up for the winter.

For students Phil Knight and Ted Duffin, currently experiencing a "year out" as part of their three-year NDA course at Brooksby College, the end of drilling has been met with mixed feelings.

On Bill Wrights 480ha (1200-acre) farm at Rothley, where Ted has been involved in virtually all aspects of harvest and cultivations, there was a distinct sense of relief.

"Its been hard but enjoyable," he says. "And the long hours have at least helped to make my bank balance look a little healthier."

Finances apart, with a season spent driving a JD3050 performing such tasks as corn cart, baling and rolling, has he changed his views on a career in agriculture?

"No. I still feel that this is the life for me," he insists. "But perhaps a little more balance between arable and livestock work would be on the cards in the future."

And on that score, with things slowing down, he can now find more time to help out at his parents farm where a 50-cow suckler herd is run.

But just what the immediate future holds for fellow student Phil Knight, remains to be decided.

Having spent the summer and a large part of the autumn working at Philip Burtts 1800ha (4500-acre) Brandon-based arable farm near Grantham, Lincs, Phil now faces redundancy.

"It always was a harvest and drilling job," he says. "A purely arable farm such as this cannot justify keeping surplus labour on all the year round."

Even so, its been an interesting time for Phil. With crops such as sugar beet, linseed, onions, carrots and potatoes to cope with, there has been a good opportunity to increase his knowledge significantly.

"The job Ive most enjoyed has been the drilling – even if I did manage to drill five acres or so with a blocked coulter," he admits – but then, who hasnt?

Has an all arable experience changed Phils views on future ambitions or plans?

"No, I dont think so. I feel quite at home working with machinery – rather more than livestock, particularly milking cows."

So, one mid-educational season under their belts, there remains another 10 months before the classroom beckons Phil and Ted.

But before then, farmers weekly will be back to see them – and discover how they have fared through the winter.n

With harvest and drilling

operations drawing to close

it is time for FARMERS

WEEKLYs two "adopted"

Brooksby College

agricultural students to

take stock of their year.

Andy Collings hears their

views

FEW will deny that harvest, followed by a frenetic period of cultivation and drilling, has a certain excitement about it. Long hours in which to do battle with the weather, the seasons and prevailing conditions.

But even the enthusiasm of the most devoted must begin to wane as the last few fields are finally shut up for the winter.

For students Phil Knight and Ted Duffin, currently experiencing a "year out" as part of their three-year NDA course at Brooksby College, the end of drilling has been met with mixed feelings.

On Bill Wrights 480ha (1200-acre) farm at Rothley, where Ted has been involved in virtually all aspects of harvest and cultivations, there was a distinct sense of relief.

"Its been hard but enjoyable," he says. "And the long hours have at least helped to make my bank balance look a little healthier."

Finances apart, with a season spent driving a JD3050 performing such tasks as corn cart, baling and rolling, has he changed his views on a career in agriculture?

"No. I still feel that this is the life for me," he insists. "But perhaps a little more balance between arable and livestock work would be on the cards in the future."

And on that score, with things slowing down, he can now find more time to help out at his parents farm where a 50-cow suckler herd is run.

But just what the immediate future holds for fellow student Phil Knight, remains to be decided.

Having spent the summer and a large part of the autumn working at Philip Burtts 1800ha (4500-acre) Brandon-based arable farm near Grantham, Lincs, Phil now faces redundancy.

"It always was a harvest and drilling job," he says. "A purely arable farm such as this cannot justify keeping surplus labour on all the year round."

Even so, its been an interesting time for Phil. With crops such as sugar beet, linseed, onions, carrots and potatoes to cope with, there has been a good opportunity to increase his knowledge significantly.

"The job Ive most enjoyed has been the drilling – even if I did manage to drill five acres or so with a blocked coulter," he admits – but then, who hasnt?

Has an all arable experience changed Phils views on future ambitions or plans?

"No, I dont think so. I feel quite at home working with machinery – rather more than livestock, particularly milking cows."

So, one mid-educational season under their belts, there remains another 10 months before the classroom beckons Phil and Ted.

But before then, farmers weekly will be back to see them – and discover how they have fared through the winter.n

Ted Duffin: "Harvest has been hard work but enjoyable."

Phil Knight: "Drilling has been my favourite job."