Exams are in full swing, so writing my column is a welcome break from revision this month.
The last week of lectures was a chance to let our hair down before exams and I took full advantage – starting with the Harper Adams Big Weekend and a wild night out in Newport, and ending with the RAG Rave and the Agric and Business Course Dinner.
The theme for the latter was ‘A Day at the Races’, where the foundation Agric boys had the pleasure of sitting with me and my friends. The Wolf Pack, as the Agric boys like to be called, all behaved surprisingly well, until they were let loose with some helium balloons.
That night I also managed to have a chat with last year’s Farmers Weekly columnist, Steve Mears, although he was quick to point out that I stole the job from him. All credit must go to Scott Rix, Kate Eardley and their fantastic team for making the night one to remember.
Following countless promises, the Wolf Pack finally came round to mow our lawn last week, which had turned into an overgrown field over the Easter holiday. This group of silage enthusiasts included Henry and Will with a 1942 electric hover mower, Jimmy armed with a rake to row up, John the chopper driver feeding the grass into the trailer driven by Phil, and they even clamped it for us. If you would like to view their spectacular contracting services in action, I have posted it onto the College Calendar Blog (www.fwi.co.uk/collegecalendar).
In between revision I attended the Beef Expo event where I saw some top-quality cattle. I wasn’t on top form with the EBLEX stock judging this year (too busy chatting all day) but I managed fifth place. I saw some more fantastic cattle at the national British Blue AGM in Mid Glamorgan, which was followed by a farm walk at Rhys Millichap’s, a young breeder from Llanhari. Thankfully, the rain kept off, which is always a bonus when you are in Wales.
Next was the Staffordshire County Show and after all the tug-of-war training I certainly wasn’t missing it for revision. The Eccleshall boys stole the show this year with the A and B teams gaining second and third respectively. Armed with Mum’s back support, the Eccleshall girls team gained third place. I think we need to get rid of the pearls and pink nail varnish to toughen up for next year.
I also helped my friend Ant show his Charolais, was interviewed by BBC Radio Stoke and, most excitingly, was presented with £1,000 scholarship from the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society. It was an honour to receive this award and it’ll be a great help for me as I go into my second year at Harper. Five scholars were interviewed on academic achievement, their involvement with Staffordshire YFC and their career aspirations. It is commendable how they are recognising the need to support the county’s future generation.
Back at home, we are calving like crazy, with between three and five calves a day. The cow catcher is in full swing and even Mum has had to learn how to use it. Despite keep telling Dad I have revision to do, my phone never stops. Although I have learnt one valuable lesson: next time we have a difficult calving and the vet is present I need to keep my mouth shut. Let’s just say there was some low-flying afterbirth, and it certainly wasn’t tasty.
So just one more week of exams to go now and then we have the Top Gun-themed Harper Adams Summer Ball. I’ll see you at the other end…