College Calendar: Rob Cotton


Rob Cotton, 20, is in the second year of a degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams in Shropshire



Over the past two weeks everyone at Harper has gone into full revision mode, so this is the time that the sun has decided to come out. Typical.


Now that all of the lectures are over, much of the campus seems particularly quiet, with the exception of the library, which is probably the busiest it’s been since this time last year.


I’m now at the stage where I only have one more exam to go, but with seven already behind me, it’s fair to say that it has been a busy couple of weeks. I seem to have spent a lot of time at my desk; notes scattered around me, sifting through lists of active ingredients and trying to get my head around ideas such as cation exchange and gross margin sensitivity analysis.


rob cottonUnfortunately, my desk directly overlooks what seems to be the main agricultural highway in Newport and every 10 minutes the distinctive noise of a tractor and trailer full of silage makes for a tempting distraction, at the time when I definitely need it the least.


In addition to this, the recent heatwave has made it harder not to drop the pen and head for the nearest beer garden, especially as all of my friends have had a few days off recently, so have been able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine.


Before the exam period started I managed to head home for the very well attended Devon County Show. It was a really enjoyable day, with good weather, good food, and an impressive display of machinery and animals alike.


A highlight for me was the debate in the Young Farmer’s tent regarding the future opportunities for young farmers in agriculture. All of the panel spoke well and raised interesting points; as someone planning on entering the industry it was refreshing to hear such optimism.


While at home I was pleased to catch the first day of silaging, and the conditions were such that we can reasonably expect to have produced forage of a good quality.


Since returning to Harper, the news from home is that all of the hay has been completed, and they are now just waiting for the second-cut silage to be ready.


Another reason for my trip home, was to check the progress of my own two South Devon heifers, a 21st birthday present from my parents. Overall, I was pleased with their growth and development, and as a result I have decided to put them to the bull, along with our other batch of 15 South Devon heifers, at the start of this month.


Now there are only a couple more days of trawling through notes, there is much to look forward to in the near future. One such event is the Harper Summer Ball, which is already generating some excitement. This looks set to be a brilliant evening and, as traditionally it lasts from 7pm-7am, it will provide a fitting – if somewhat exhausting – end to this second year at university.

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