New ADAS research shows crimping kills black-grass seeds

New trials undertaken by ADAS have shown that preserving cereals by crimping kills 100% of the black-grass seeds ensiled with the crop. 

The results come as welcome news to arable and grassland farmers, who may be able to use crimping as a means of reducing the burden of black-grass on their farms. Researchers have speculated this burden could decline year on year, if crimping is undertaken over the long term.

A further benefit of the crimping process – which involves processing and adding a preservative to the grain and ensiling it in a clamp or plastic tube – comes through its early harvest which is typically three weeks ahead of dry cereal harvest.

The trials also demonstrated that at the time of an early harvest, black-grass seeds were less viable (achieving an 18.6% germination rate) than seeds from a fully mature plant (42% germination). 

The early harvest associated with the crimping process also increased the amount of black-grass seed removed from the field, compared with conventional harvest timing.

The findings add to a string of benefits to come from crimping rather than harvesting dry cereals. These include the higher nutritional quality of the earlier-harvested cereals, the reduced grain loss through shedding and disease, the ability to start autumn cultivations on the cereal ground earlier and the lack of a need to dry grain. 

Dr Laura Davies, ADAS weed researcher, who carried out the trial said crimping looked very promising as an additional method of reducing the black-grass burden on a farm. She said it could be used alongside a range of practices beneficial for reducing black-grass, including strategic ploughing, delayed autumn drilling and opting for spring- instead of autumn-sown cereals.

“We are very encouraged that this trial demonstrated the crimping process itself will kill black-grass seed, making it unviable,” she said. “This suggests that early harvest and crimping could be an effective part of a multifactorial approach to black-grass control.”

Furthermore, she said the results were so promising that their long-term impact over several seasons should be researched.

“We would like to investigate the impact of early harvest on reducing the weed seed bank and emergence of black-grass in subsequent crops,” she said.

Feed preservation specialists, Kelvin Cave Ltd, whose product, Crimpsafe 300, was used in the trials, said the results confirm what they have heard anecdotally for many years.

“Farmers are increasingly using early harvest and crimping as part of their black-grass control strategy,” said Michael Carpenter, the company’s northern area manager.

Neil Welburn who farms 1,600 acres near Goole in Yorkshire is a case in point, and has turned his entire cereal acreage over to crimping.

Mr Welburn says: “Early harvest and crimping are an important part of our black-grass control strategy. We set the combine sieves fully open for crimping and catch all of the weed seed, which you can see in the tank.

“Once everything has been through the crimper, had the preservative applied and been clamped for a month or so, my feeling is that the seed isn’t viable at all.”

He now produces around 500 tonnes/annum of crimped cereals, fattens 600 head of cattle every year on a high crimp ration and sells the remaining 300 tonnes to other livestock producers.

“The cattle are really healthy and the grades have definitely gone up since we’ve been feeding crimp,” he says.

The product is also widely endorsed by independent nutritionists including Stephen Caldwell from SC Nutrition (UK) & Grass Science.

He says crimped cereals are safer for the rumen than dry, rolled cereals or compound feed, and can be fed in higher quantities.

“Crimp wins on several counts for me as the cows perform well on it because it is so rumen-friendly, without any negative action on rumen function and intakes; it’s very straightforward, usually coming straight from another farm in one journey; and because of this, it’s both cost-effective and good for the environment.”

“I think we will see more crimp traded from farm to farm as this low-cost, home-grown feed increases in popularity with livestock producers,” adds Mr Carpenter. “And now we have such compelling evidence of its agronomic benefits in arable rotations, we expect growers will be keen to produce crimped cereals to trade with their livestock farming neighbours.”

Germination of black-grass seed collected at crimped grain harvest, at black-grass seed shedding, and seed stored in crimped grain for one month

Treatment

Black-grass seed collection timing

% Germination (average across three replicates)

Field collection at time of crimping

June 2017

18.6

One month crimped

June 2017 (+ 1 month crimped)

0

Mature seed

July 2017

42

Black-grass facts

  • Initially predominantly in East Anglia but black-grass has spread north and west

  • The ninth most common weed in 1989, by 2009 it was number one

  • Around half of the UK’s wheat production area is affected

  • 80% of black-grass populations show resistance to one or more herbicide

  • Non-herbicide control can include changing cultivations, drilling, competitive crops and preventing seed return


    What is crimping
    Crimping cereals involves the rolling of early-harvested grain through a crimping machine to expose the carbohydrate and protein, and the application of a preservative. This ensures a controlled fermentation and maximum nutrient retention once stored in an airtight clamp (or plastic tube). A range of modern preservatives allows cereals to be crimped at moisture contents of 25%-40% and maize at 35-40%. Crimp must remain sealed for at least three weeks and can then be fed throughout the year.


    Why crimp grain

  • Maximises nutrient value, digestibility and dry matter/ha

  • Enables earlier harvest at peak nutritional value

  • The process is simple – crimp, ensile, feed

  • No drying or specialist storage is required

  • Allows early establishment of follow-on crops

  • Reduces grain loss in the field

  • Harvest is less weather-dependent

  • Turns home-grown moist cereals into quality, digestible and palatable concentrate feed

  • Improves animal performance (dairy, beef or sheep) over dry-rolled cereals

  • Completely destroys the viability of black-grass seed in the clamp

  • Backed by over 40 years successful use in Finland and northern Europe

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The Mid Devon Show - 27th July

A must date for your Summer diary is the 27th July when the Mid Devon Show hold its 26th Annual event. Hosted by the National Trust in the Beautiful grounds of the Knightshayes Estate this is truly a gem in the South West’s Calendar. This year`s nominated charity is Farms for City Children who offer breaks for city children in one of their three farming locations. Our nearest one is just outside Exeter and they provide invaluable experiences for young people in the South West and further afield.

This year continues with a packed entertainment schedule in the main ring. The main attraction being the Devils Horseman. Normally seen on the Big Screen they are bringing the magic and stunts from the movies to Devon. There is also Scurry driving, Young Farmers Competitions, Heavy Horses, The Grand Parade, Majorette demonstration, Vintage Tractor Parade, Pony club games and the parade of Hounds.

Away from the main ring we have one of the biggest livestock competitions in the country. With Cattle, Sheep, Horses and Pygmy Goats all competing for the top prizes. The Countryside area is packed full of exhibits and demonstrations. From Ferret Racing, Birds of prey and pony displays. We also have the hilarious and ever popular sheep show returning in 2019. If you have seen it, you will want to see it again, If you have not then it’s a must to visit this year.

We also welcome back our Demonstrators which is unique to the Mid Devon Show. Local companies show off their latest equipment in the demonstration area and it is amazing to get up close and see these massive bits of equipment at work.

 Our 2019 Food Marquee is the biggest in the history of the show with over 50 producers from all over the South West. Local Gins, Ciders and Cheeses are always a great hit together with breads, pastries and hot food make the food hall one of the most popular parts of the show.

This year we are pleased to announce that children 15 and under will gain FREE entry to the show. We hope this will help young families to attend and enjoy all the attractions for the kids. On that note we have loads going on for the youngsters. Funfair Rides, Bouncy Castles, Archery, climbing wall, trampolines, bungee, face painting, Paintball, Donkey Rides and so much more. We also have a big Classic Car Display, Music Festival, Youth Village, Churches Marquee, Flower Marquee, Women’s Institute, Vintage Tractors and Young Farmers Marquee.

Last and not least is shopping and we welcome hundreds of traders from across the South West. You will find anything from Jewellery to Hot Tubs or Hats to Brand new cars. There really is something for everyone and all of our traders are South West based so you know you are supporting local businesses. Another lovely shopping area is the Magpie Market Marquee full of small artisan traders who create a unique market environment and you will be surprised at the lovely items you can find.

Of course, there are the various food outlets serving everything you could possibly want to eat and supported by two local public bars

Getting to the show is really easy with it being Located within walking distance of Tiverton. You can also catch the FREE bus service from the surrounding area, missing all the queues and arriving on the doorstep. This also includes the FREE park and ride service from just outside Tiverton. The show does also have two FREE Carparks adjacent to the show field.

The Mid Devon Show truly is a great day out celebrating everything that The South West has to offer.

Cygnet Causes Panic at Palace

Eagle-eyed viewers of the 24-hour Swan Cam at The Bishop’s Palace have had an exciting week.  Firstly, a cygnet was spotted hatching in the early hours of Saturday morning.  The little cygnet was seen exploring the nest and snuggling up to mum Grace during Saturday. It then delighted viewers by heading into the Palace Moat for its first swim on Sunday morning. It has made several forays onto the Moat since and has even been taken round to the famous Gatehouse bell by both parents, who were showing off their prowess in ringing the bell for food.

The cheeky cygnet managed to cause quite a stir amongst the viewers when it climbed up onto the Moat bank on the wrong side of a fence. It then managed to get itself stuck in the fence at around 8:45pm. Quick-thinking viewers were soon on social media trying to find a solution to the problem and the Palace Marketing team spotted two tweets at around 9pm. The Head Gardener was called up to come down to the Moat bank to help the cygnet to escape – he was seen by Swan Cam viewers gamely fending off Grace with a bucket and extracting the mischievous cygnet!

On Wednesday morning, it managed to pull the same trick again with some more “exploring” of the flower bed and fence. This time our Swan Trainer Moira Anderson was on hand (no bucket needed!) and James helped out with removing the fence for good to ensure no further incidents.

 The three remaining eggs on the nest have not yet hatched and Moira suspects that they are no longer viable. All eggs usually hatch over a 24-hour period and it is thought that the disturbance of being moved from their former unsuitable home, to their new home at the Palace, may have somehow interrupted the normal breeding season.

The new family may only stay on the nest for a few more days, so the Palace is encouraging viewers of Swan Cam (located on the Palace website home page) to enjoy watching them now. 

Gabriel and Grace are finding their way as parents – it is thought that they are first time parents – but seem to have the usual Swan protectiveness instilled in them, which means that the ducks on the moat get swiftly chased off when they get too near.

We are hoping that the cygnet, who Palace Staff have named Lucky, will be looking to have a quiet couple of days now just enjoying some swimming on the moat after all this excitement.

Moira Anderson said…. “I’m delighted that we have a cygnet hatched.  Grace and Gabriel arrived with us and we were just so pleased to have swans back on the moat, so to have any cygnets at all is just amazing.  It means that Grace and Gabriel are loving their new home and we hope that they will be great parents and we will be keeping our fingers crossed for many more cygnets from their little swan family for years to come.    We have been overwhelmed by how everyone has taken this little family to their hearts as was very evident from all the concern expressed when our little cygnet got stuck on Tuesday!  I hate to think how much mischief 6 or 7 cygnets could have caused!”

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Education is crucial to agriculture’s future, says CAAV

Educating the younger generation and embracing technology will be crucial to safeguarding the future of agriculture in the UK, a group of professionals has warned.

The approach taken towards attracting young people to pursue an education and career in farming needs to change to ensure the industry can survive, said speakers at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers’ (CAAV) AGM on June 28. “The industry needs more degree-qualified people and highly skilled staff, as well as more continued professional development (CPD),” said Professor David Llewellyn, vice chancellor at Harper Adams University. “Solid professionals, able to deal with technology leadership skills are needed in modern farming.”

There’s a huge shift happening in agricultural business management. “There does need to be a new approach to food, the environment, climate impacts and health implications, but we need to close the skills gap and bring the best and brightest into farming – this will be as important as the food we produce for the future,” explained Prof Llewellyn.

“With a demographic dip in 18-year-olds, agriculture needs to look at ways of improving skills but also attracting those into the industry that do not have a natural affinity to it. Productivity – and profitability – is driven by education.”

There also needs to be a comprehensive approach to education throughout workers’ careers, not just in the teenage years, he said. “Education and skills run together.”

Advancing technologies mean a number of jobs could become fully automated, including tractor driving, which might see a loss of jobs. But there’s also hope that automation might protect family farms as technology could make smaller farms more financially stable. In addition, Prof Llewellyn believes co-bots, rather than robots, and labour-augmented automation could be the future. “New jobs could be created while leadership and management would need to be adapted.

Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser to the CAAV, said it was vital to adopt technological advances, or risk being left behind. “If we don’t pick it up, our competitors will.”

However, one of the core issues is the management of land occupation – and the latest tenancy law review could be integral to moving land into the hands of the trained. “We need the right people on the land to do the right thing with it. It doesn’t matter where land comes from, but it does matter who it goes to.” 

Younger generations perceive technology differently, which could be used to attract them into agriculture, said Prof Llewellyn. With Generation Z having never lived without access to a smartphone, it’s essential they’re informed that agriculture is a technologically advanced sector in which to pursue a rewarding career. “We need to consider the attitudes of young people, because if we don’t adapt as an industry, we will not attract them. 

“We have a national drive to get skills into the industry at the moment – through various channels such as AHDB and the NFU, with the idea to build a new professional agenda for farming,” said Prof Llewellyn. “So we can say to young people that agriculture is the industry they should choose as it’s professional. Education and skills need to be front and centre to fulfil our ambitions for the future. If we don’t advocate the exciting advances in the industry, then we will lose out.”

For more information visit www.caav.org.uk

 

Tory leadership candidates asked to back five pledges for the rural economy

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has written to Jeremy Hunt MP and Boris Johnson MP asking them to back five pledges for the rural economy, recognising the particular needs of communities and businesses in the countryside:

 

  1. Introduce a long-term funding settlement for agriculture, forestry and the environment. Current funding commitments expire at the end of this Parliament with no guarantee that sufficient funds will be made available to help deliver the Conservative Party’s ambitious environmental agenda whilst also helping the industry transition away from the Common Agricultural Policy. This lack of certainty is stifling investment as businesses wait and see what will happen next.

 

  1. Commit to prohibiting food products produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards from coming into the UK. The UK should be seeking to export its high standards not accepting lower standards from elsewhere. In addition, allowing the import of products such as chlorinated chicken as part of post-Brexit trade deals will undermine UK farmers who will be unable to compete against these cheaper low standard imports.

 

  1. Ensure a fully connected countryside. For years rural areas have lagged behind towns and cities with their broadband and mobile connectivity. There are a range of steps, such as legally binding mobile targets and public investment, which if implemented will help ensure the rural economy can maximise the connectivity opportunities taken for granted in many urban areas.

 

  1. Put landowners at the heart of rural housing delivery. Changes to the tax system through, for example, providing tax incentives to aid affordable housing delivery alongside providing greater certainty via the planning system at an earlier stage which will encourage land to be brought forward quickly for housing.

 

  1. Create a taxation system which works for rural businesses. Many rural businesses have multiple elements, all of which are taxed differently despite forming part of a single business. Creating a single rural business unit to allow all these elements to be taxed as a single entity would help reduce administration and better reflect the reality of these businesses.


Commenting on the pledges, Tim Breitmeyer, President of the CLA said: “We cannot continue with a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to policymaking. By backing these five pledges, the next Prime Minister – whoever it will be – is making a very public commitment to ensuring the particular needs of the countryside are both recognised and met. Our membership looks forward to hearing from Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson soon.”

St Bridget Nurseries wins National Homes & Gardens Family Business of the Year!

On Thursday 6th June at an award ceremony held in The Mayfair Hotel London, St Bridget Nurseries won Homes & Gardens Family Business of the Year 2019. The garden centre business were also joint runners up in the South and South West Regional Category.

The Family Business awards are now in their seventh year and were organised by Family Business United who are a resource centre for family businesses and their advisors.  The evening celebrated the vital contribution that family businesses of all sizes play in the UK economy. The entries were diverse and showed evidence of innovation, investment, passion and pride. All of Great Britain was represented from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and all parts of England.

St Bridget Nurseries were nominated for an award at the start of the year and then joined a list of fourteen shortlisted companies for the South & South West region. Each shortlisted company was then invited to submit a detailed entry for use by the judges. These entries covered how each family business is governed, key milestones, company values, the involvement of the company in the larger community and how well the company is doing fiscally. In April, St Bridget Nurseries were told that they were finalists along with six other companies for the region and they were one of three national finalists for the Homes & Gardens Category.

At the awards ceremony, Tammy Falloon (Managing Director for St Bridget Nurseries and the fourth generation of the family business) was presented the award by Anthony Gallagher from the award sponsor Easigrass. Tammy said “I am truly honoured and delighted to win this Family Business of the Year Award. This award not only goes to our wonderful team of staff but the teams before them who helped my ancestors build their vision and dream so I can take it forward into its next century.”

St Bridget Nurseries has been a family business since it was founded in 1925. Now in its fourth generation the business still grows over 85% of the plants it sells in the company’s two Exeter based garden centres. When asked what makes their business so special, they answered: “Everything, you will have to visit to see! It’s the people. We’ve been in business for over 90 years. We’ve survived two generations of ‘only children’ so luckily succession planning went well and now we are a rare but strong Mother & Daughter team. We couldn’t have got where we are without the support and loyalty of our wonderful team of staff. Many of which have been with us for 30 plus years!”

St Bridget Nurseries has garden centres at Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary, EX5 1AE and Old Rydon Lane, Exeter, EX2 7JY.

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Tammy Falloon receiving Homes & Gardens Family Business of the Year award 2019

Tammy Falloon receiving Homes & Gardens Family Business of the Year award 2019


Alan Watson from Paxton & Whitfield Wins Cheesemonger of the Year 2019!

Alan Watson, a cheesemonger from the UK’s oldest cheese shop Paxton & Whitfield, was crowned Cheesemonger of the Year at the Royal Bath & West Show on Thursday 30th May 2019. 

The competition, held on the second day of the Royal Bath & West Show, saw eight contestants from cheese retailers across the country compete for this coveted title. The finalists had been selected by the British Cheese Awards committee from written entries that cheesemongers from across the UK had submitted for consideration to then be invited to the final. 

 

The written entry form consisted of a brief history about the entrants’ work in cheese and a response to the following question: ‘You have around  £30 to shop for a cheeseboard for 6 people – which British cheeses would you buy?’   

Alan Watson, winner of Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019, says: "Just taking part in the competition is a great accolade for any cheesemonger and to have been surrounded by such talented people yesterday was incredibly daunting. On top of that having such respected and  experienced  judges added to my slight feeling of nerves when I started the day. However, I managed to keep a calm mind and approached each round of the competition with determination. The feeling of hearing my name read out as the winner at the end of the day was amazing and it really hasn’t sunk in yet that I won!”

Alan beat seven other cheesemongers who came from cheese shops that included Neal’s Yard Dairy, La Fromagerie, La Cave a Fromage and others. 

The eight finalists were put through four, nail-biting rounds: 

1.     Round one - Cheeseboard Proposal & Discussion where they discussed their cheeseboard selection that they created for their competition entry forms. 

2.     Round two - a Cut & Wrap exercise where they had to cut and wrap different weights of cheese from whole cheeses by sight with no use of weighing scales.

3.     Round three - Identification, where contestants had to taste and identify a number of unmarked cheeses.

4.     Round four - where each contestant took part in a Mastermind-style quiz and give responses to questions asked about British cheese. 

Ros Windsor, managing director of Paxton & Whitfield, says: “We were thrilled to hear that Alan had won the competition. It’s testament to his hard work and dedication in the job that he does. He’s the second Paxton & Whitfield cheesemonger to have won the competition since it started four years ago. He is so passionate about cheese and it’s this passion that shines through in his work at Paxtons and I’m sure that it helped him during the day of the competition.”  

Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, says: “I was extremely impressed by the eight finalists and how they performed throughout the competition day. Although there did have to be a winner it’s good to know that the profession of being a cheesemonger is in safe hands with young cheesemongers like these coming up through the ranks.”

Mary Quicke MBE, award-winning cheesemaker and managing director of Quicke’s, says: "It was a privilege and pleasure to have spent the day with such talented young people working in cheese.  They were all really passionate, knowledgeable and capable when it came to participating in the competition.  We had such a great range of challenging tasks to give them and a great variety of cheesey things to do.  There were so few points between all the competitors in the final marks.  The winner, Alan, was well deserved. It’s great there are such motivated young people championing cheese across the country."

Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, says: "What a fantastic line up we had for Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019, they were certainly put through their paces but rose to all the challenges with passion, skill, patience and humour! Our eight finalists ranging in age from 21 to 29 years old are a credit to the cheese industry and we feel very proud to be helping them on their journey onwards and upwards. The winner, Alan Watson from Paxton & Whitfield the UK’s oldest cheesemonger, shone through with his knowledge of British cheeses, cutting and wrapping skills and identification and assessment of the five competition cheeses.” 

Michael Lane, editor of Fine Food Digest, says: “Alan Watson’s experience, understanding and enthusiasm proved to be a potent winning combination but he was run very close by an excellent field of finalists. All eight of the contestants impressed the judging panel with their level of knowledge, approach to selling cheese and, most of all, their individual personalities. Each one is a credit to themselves, the shops they work in and the professional title of ‘cheesemonger’.”

Becoming an expert cheesemonger is more than just learning about how to cut cheese. It’s about knowing all the cheese varieties, how to care for them and understanding how they are made. The competition was open to cheesemongers under the age of 30 and sponsored by Fine Food Digest, Britain's leading trade magazine for speciality fine food and drink, and the Academy of Cheese, providing training and knowledge for the cheese industry.

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Farmers vital in combating climate change

Farmers and land managers have a huge role to play in combating climate change and enhancing the environment, and must be recognised as such, according to speakers at the Bath & West Show. 

With Brexit and resulting changes to agricultural and environmental legislation looming, it’s vital that the Government – and the public – recognise the beneficial role which farmers can play, said Lord Bathurst, president of this year’s Show. Speaking at the CLA breakfast on Wednesday (29 May), he said that farmers provided food, timber, renewable energy, clean water, environmental measures, tourism, leisure, and mitigation of inclement weather conditions. 

“To be successful, environmental payments must deliver real income and profit if they are to be sustainable,” he explained. “And we need to get public support – it’s so important that we get our message out to the public and the Bath & West show provides the ideal platform for knowledge exchange.”

David Cross, director of farm agency at Savills, said that natural capital will likely become a more visibly traded asset to meet new environmental targets. “It may well be traded like milk quota in future, and the value of such commodities (like floodplains and marshland) will increase.”

However, in order to thrive in the new era, farmers need to adapt to become active land managers, warned Mark Tufnell, vice president of the CLA. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they will have to plant and manage more trees, to sequester carbon, for example. “Carbon is also locked up in our soils, so grass and the animals that eat it are absolutely vital.”

Payments for public goods also need to be tailored to local areas and local needs, according to James Heappey, MP for Wells and Somerset. But there is more to the rural economy than land management – local infrastructure also needs to evolve to match the rate of development, he warned. 

“Too many villages have no houses under £350,000 – and rural schools can’t survive if families can’t buy,” he said. But with ever more housing developments – aimed at lowering house prices - roads, high speed broadband, 4G and other services all need to be improved, too. “Our local communities won’t be sustainable if we don’t square that circle.”

However, according to Minette Batters, president of the NFU, any discussion around payments to protect the environment is premature. “All of this has to be seen in the context of what our future trading relationship is going to be,” she said. “Farms are businesses, and they can’t deliver environmental goods if they are not economically viable. They receive a miniscule amount of the value chain, and the Government has a duty of care to make sure these businesses are trading fairly. 

“If farmers are undermined by cheap raw ingredients coming into our market place, which are produced to a lower standard, it will be economically disastrous for the industry,” she added. “We’re putting the cart before the horse – we need to focus on the industry structure to ensure that farms are profitable, sustainable businesses, and that revolves around food production and market viability.”

 

  • The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term.


Get inspired by engineering at the Bath & West Show

Have you ever fancied running an army tank or building a racing car? How about inventing a new jet engine or looking after a navy helicopter? Or are you a computer guru, fascinated by the rapid rate of development in technology and robotics? Whatever it is that piques your interest, the Imagineering Tent at the Royal Bath & West Show is sure to feed those flames and help turn your dreams into reality. 

 

Established as a charity, Imagineering seeks to introduce young people aged 8-16 to the exciting world of engineering, science and technology through fun, hands-on and practical activities. As well as running school clubs, the organisation holds several Imagineering fairs, including at the International Air Day at RNAS Yeovilton and the Royal Bath & West Show – where it has won the Gold award for Best Feature in Show for several years. 

 

“The huge Imagineering Tent gives visitors the chance to learn first-hand about the importance of modern engineering in our everyday life,” explains Joy Smith at the Imagineering Foundation. “There are opportunities for hands-on inspection of some breath-taking engineering and technology used in production and defence, which can not normally be seen by the public.

 

“There will be challenges for all ages and abilities, from maths and mechanics to electronics, robots and simulators. Visitors will get a glimpse into the high technology that keeps our utilities working, ships afloat and planes in the air. There will also be opportunities to talk to young and experienced engineers and discover what inspired them to take this career path.”

 

Exhibitors in the Imagineering Tent include:

BMT- specialising in offshore environments and construction, BMT will be running three activities for visitors to learn about stability and buoyancy in a hands-on and exciting way.

Leonardo Helicopters – transform yourself into a pilot of a Royal Navy Merlin Mk2, design your own helicopter, learn what makes them fly, and look at real helicopter parts.

Rolls-Royce – the engine build challenge. Learn how a jet engine works and see how fast you can build an engine.

Wessex Water – a range of activities for different ages - including the opportunity to create connection supply pipes to match the perfect example.

GE Aviation – features a helicopter simulator as well as host of smaller activities and interactive games, including Plane Academy.

Visitors can also sign up for a workshop to go one-to-one with an engineer, learn how to use tools and make a working model they can take home. “There will be the daily Imagineering Team Challenge between companies with stands in Imagineering – always great fun to watch,” says Miss Smith. “Young visitors will also get a special ‘Passport’ to fill with stamps and stickers as they go round the stands and complete the activities, giving them a chance to enter a Grand Draw for a £100 prize.”

 

The Imagineering Fair is supported by – Bahçeşehir College; Baker Hughes; Bath College; BMT; Bridgwater & Taunton College; EDF Energy; First Lego League; GE Aviation; IET Bristol; IET Somerset & North Wilts; Imagineering Clubs; Leonardo UK; REME (Army);  Rolls-Royce; University of West of England; Wessex Water; Wiltshire College and the Royal Bath & West Show.

 

  • The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

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Strong competition at the Bath & West Show

The Royal Bath & West Show is enjoying strong competition entries again this year, with an enormous variety and number of breeds represented in both the farm and equine classes. 

“In the sheep section, we have 13 breeds showing an increase in entries, including Zwartbles, Southdowns, Kerry Hill, Dorset Horn & Poll Dorset, Blue Texel and the Any Other Native Shortwool,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “We are also hosting the Texel Society Focus Show, for which owners have shown huge enthusiasm, generating a massive 136 entries.”

Last year’s Texel and interbreed sheep champions, Paul and Christine Tippetts, will be returning to defend their crowns this May half term. “Showing is a show window for people to see what we are breeding,” says Mrs Tippetts. “It’s also an opportunity to spend time with fellow breeders and to socialise with like-minded people. It takes months of preparation and a lot of hard work but to win is a tremendous feeling – a real buzz.”

Despite challenging times for the beef sector, given the limitations imposed through TB, eight breeds have increased entries, led by Devons and Any Other Natives, followed closely by Limousins, says Mr Lyons. And it’s clearly a competitive section, as last year’s champions, Nick and Lisa Hill – along with their children Archie and Lottie – concur. 

“Preparation takes years,” says Nick. “It’s all in the breeding - you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. And the final preparation lies months ahead of the show; a huge amount of time and effort is put in behind the scenes with halter training, training hair growth and keeping the animals fit and on form for the big day. 

“But it’s great fun and the family all really enjoy meeting similar-minded people. It also helps promote our herd and breed; we are all quite competitive and thoroughly enjoy that aspect of showing.”

In the pig section it’s good to see three breeds with higher entries, particularly the Gloucestershire Old Spots, which have almost doubled in numbers since 2017, says Mr Lyons. Other breeds increasing are the Large Whites and Tamworths.

With the new equine area proving to be a great success, it’s hardly surprising that equine entries are also on the up – and the Society is busy watering the ground to make sure it’s in top condition come show days.  

“The ever-popular Dartmoor ponies have increased by 50% to 30, followed by the Welsh sections A and B, standard Shetlands, Highlands and Connemaras,” says Mr Lyons. Senior horses and ponies over 15 years of age continue to grow in popularity, with significant increases in both the in-hand and ridden classes. “Finally, the working hunter classes see an increase of 10 to 48 in five classes.” 

In the heavy horse section, the new team class of up to six horses has boosted turnout and harness entries by 13 to 35, while the popularity of ridden heavy horses continues to grow, year-on-year.

Last year’s Cuddy qualifier was Triple Crown, shown by Simon Charlesworth. “Winning a Cuddy qualifier is always special because it’s essentially a supreme of show with a great depth of quality animals,” explains Mr Charlesworth. “There’s a lot of history to the Cuddy as it goes to the Horse of the Year Show - it’s not an easy thing to do and there have been so many very famous show horses over the years that have won it. 

“In 2010 I was champion at HOYS in the Cuddy final with a Hack broodmare and my dad was reserve champion with a Riding Pony – that was great as no other family has achieved that before or since.” 

 

·         The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

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Bridgwater & Taunton College Awarded Accreditation from National Skills Academy

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) is feeling proud, having achieved accreditation from the National Skills Academy Food & Drink (NSAFD) for their food-specific Apprenticeship provision and delivery to the industry.

The NSAFD exists to provide businesses across the UK’s food and drink manufacturing and processing industry with a single source of access to leading edge workforce training, vocational study and skill upgrades, designed to boost productivity, innovation, profitability and growth. The academy works closely with a range of key industry stakeholders, supporters and partners in delivering their mission of making the food and drink industry in the UK the best in the world, and BTC are extremely proud to have been chosen to be a part of this.

The NSAFD will be presenting the accreditation award to BTC at an industry forum event at the College later in the month.

BTC, have recently been awarded Outstanding by Ofsted for Apprenticeships, and is the region’s leading provider. They work with a large number of local and national employers, training the next generation of professionals. The College’s dedicated Business Development team is highly experienced in the development and delivery of Apprenticeship solutions, as well as being extremely knowledgeable in the new reforms, including the Levy.

To make contact with the BTC Business Development team or to find out more about their involvement with NSAFD or to attend the industry forum, email business@btc.ac.uk or call 01278 655111.

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Glastonbury vibe at Royal Bath & West Show

Glastonbury Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the world, but what you may not know is that founder Michael Eavis first caught the bug at the Royal Bath & West Showground in 1970. And having been President of the Royal Bath & West Show for two years, his legacy remains in the Pilton Tent, a hub of live music, bars and fresh local food.

“I’m very keen on the Pilton Tent, it’s a wonderful area, and brings a real festival atmosphere to the Show – I started introducing it on day one of being President and wanted it to continue every year,” he explains.

It seems rather fitting, given that Mr Eavis was inspired to create his first festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, having attended the Bath Blues Festival at the showground almost 50 years ago. “I was completely bowled over by that – it’s what started my festival career; it all started at the showground,” he says.

As a boy at boarding school, Mr Eavis had a passion for pop music and he even got caned for listening to Radio Luxembourg at midnight when he was nine years old!

So the Bath & West Festival of Blues and Progressive Music, which took place in 1970, was just up his street and he fell for it hook, line and sinker. He started his very own festival on the farm that same year, which he called the ‘Pilton Pop Festival’. It cost £1 to attend, which included free milk from the cows.

It’s much bigger now though, with over 200,000 people attending. “It’s wonderful to see so many lovely people enjoying themselves – not unlike the Bath & West Show,” he says. “It has so much of our rural heritage to see, from cheese and butter to cream teas from the Women’s Institute. There are amazing cattle and sheep shearing - the skills and talents of the countryside people are unlimited.”

So how does the farm run smoothly alongside the festival? “We have 500 milking cows and 500 young stock – the dry cows graze away from the festival site, but we have to keep the milking cows in to avoid any e-coli issues for our visitors,” says Mr Eavis. “We have 400 people who clean up after the festival, with magnets to pick up any metal, and then we can turn the cows back out. The grass comes back pretty quickly after reseeding, and on a year off from the festival, the cows will graze all summer – it’s lovely to see them out.”

Because he has to buy in so much feed for the cows when they’re housed, it’s not feasible to be organic, but Worthy Farm is as green as possible in other ways. “About 20 years ago we were among the first farmers to have solar panels on the barn roof, and we have an anaerobic digestion plant which produces electricity from slurry,” he explains.

As the festival takes up all of Mr Eavis’s time and energy, he has two farm managers. John Taylor oversees the herd and milk production while Steven Kearle runs the whole farm and takes care of the crops and feed management.

“We all speak most days, and are currently moving to a local feed supplier,” says Mr Eavis. “The farm is really important to me – the family have been farming for 150 years. I’m a farmer first and foremost, and it felt like a tribute to my great grandfather when we won the NMR Gold Cup after five generations of milking.

“But I also go and listen to gigs all the time and run competitions for bands at the Pilton working men’s club every couple of weeks – that’s my job.”

From a farming perspective, Mr Eavis’s links to the Royal Bath & West Show go way back. “We always went to the Show, even before it settled at the permanent showground, when it was a travelling show,” he says. “My father let me drive the car to Exeter one year when I was about 12 years old – I loved it. He was urging me to drive faster and overtake people – I think I’ve got some of his habits!”

John Taylor and his wife Pam have exhibited cows at the Show on occasion, too, although it’s a lot of work getting the animals used to walking on a halter, he adds. “We’re producing 16,000 litres of milk a day, so it’s a big operation. There is huge demand for milk in the UK, and for cheese and milk powder worldwide. It’s a massive industry and we should be proud of what we’re doing – our food is needed worldwide and the climate and grassland in Somerset is just right for milk production.”

Visitors to the Bath & West Show will be able to sample plenty of local dairy produce and get up close with dairy and beef cattle in the showing rings, which is real highlight, says Mr Eavis. “It’s really nice to speak to producers, there are so many lovely people dedicated to making cheese, butter, yoghurts and honey – there’s an incredible array of skills at the Show.”

So what is he most looking forward to doing at the event? “I could spend half my time looking at the rural crafts area, then have lunch at the Pilton Tent and listen to some great music. Then I’d like to go off and see all those wonderful people putting their heart and soul into what they’re doing.”

For anyone who wants to enjoy the festival atmosphere into the evening, camping is available on-site.

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

Book Show tickets before saver deadline

here are only 43 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, and visitors have until this Friday, 19 April, to book super saver tickets and secure a £5 discount per adult.

A thrilling day out for all ages, the Show has a buzzing festival vibe and an exceptional array of food and drink. Head along to the main ring to watch gravity-defying stunt bike riders or cheer on the army and local business in featured rugby matches.

For festival lovers, visit the Pilton Tent – inspired by former Show President Michael Eavis - for live music, including the UK’s number one Take That tribute band Rule the World. And with the music – including the beloved Wurzels - continuing well into the evening, why not book into the Show’s campsite and enjoy a mini festival on your doorstep?

As host to the British Cheese Championships and the British Cider Championships, the Show has plenty to whet your appetite, from local vegan and gluten free caterers to home-grown farm beef. There is also world class showjumping, rural crafts and livestock competitions.

For a bit of adrenaline, have a go on the 4x4 off-road course, witness the daring antics of the Dorset Axemen and take a ride on the enchanting miniature railway.

Of course, there is plenty of retail therapy on offer, with exhibitors ranging from country clothing and equipment to art galleries, garden centres and toy stores. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, so come along and meet Tractor Ted or the impressive heavy horses.

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June, and with over 50 hours of entertainment each day of show there really is something for everyone. Super saver tickets are on sale until 19 April. Visit www.bathandwest.com or call 0844 776 6777 to book yours.

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Entries closing for Royal Bath & West Show

With less than 50 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, entries will soon be closing for competitions ranging from private driving and sheep shearing to bees and honey, cider and cheese.

Entries for the very popular equine classes have been flooding in, with new competitions this year including gypsy cobs – both ridden and in-hand – a stallion class in the riding pony breeding section, and a driven team of three, four or six heavy horses. Qualifiers include the Cuddy championship for the Horse of the Year Show, the National Hunter Supreme Championship, the British Arabian Championships and the Irish Draught Horse Challenge.

In the show jumping rings, some of the UK’s top riders will be hoping to qualify for the British Showjumping National Championships, the BHS Royal International Horse Show, and the Horse of the Year Show.

“With more than £52,000 in prize money up for grabs, and our stunning specialist equine area, the Royal Bath & West Show is one of the most prestigious events on the equine calendar,” says head of shows Alan Lyons.

Other competitions include the British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association Championship, the Apprentice Championship and classes contributing to the acclaimed Champion Blacksmith of the Year award.

A short walk from the farrier pavilion is the bees and honey tent, with classes including observation hives, comb and jar honey and beeswax decorations. The general public can even get involved with the public choice awards. Having whetted their appetite, they can then head to the British Cider Championships and British Cheese Awards, to try out some of the UK’s best produce.

“If you’re looking for a quieter pastime, why not head to the floral art tent, which features a range of competitions including the People’s Choice award and Pop-Up Garden category,” says Mr Lyons. “Or nip into the art competition and be inspired by beautiful paintings and sculpture from the region’s artists – even vote for your favourite work and take it home with you.”

Livestock are a key part of the South West economy, and the best dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry will be competing for top honours in the livestock rings. This year, new classes include the Dexter National Show; commerical cattle; Portland, Primitive and Shetland Sheep and veteran sows. “We are also hosting the Golden Shears Junior and Open Sheep Shearing Championships, attracting the best sheep shearers from across the country,” says Mr Lyons.

“Whether you are after fast-paced competition, the best food and drink in the country, or something a bit more relaxing, the Royal Bath & West Show has it all. And with live music continuing well into the evening and on-site camping, exhibitors and visitors alike can really make the most of their day out.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Competition schedules and tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £5 discount on early adult bookings.

Livestock entries closing for Royal Bath & West Show

There are only 60 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, meaning entries will soon be closing for livestock, poultry and sheep shearing competitions.

“Entries have been flooding in from producers around the country, with new classes offering competitors plenty of chances to take home the silverware,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “Livestock are a key part of the British economy, and to reflect the importance of commercial success, we have introduced two new cross-bred cattle classes and increased the number of commercial cattle classes.”

In addition, this year will see the best Dexter cattle in the country congregating for the Dexter Society National Show, while a new discipline in the Cattle Showmanship Competition will test competitors’ presentation abilities to the max - as having judged, prepared and shown, they now have to photograph their animal.

In the sheep lines, Portland, Primitive and Shetland sheep now have their own class, and young sheep handlers will have even more opportunities to show off their skills with five classes to choose from. “We are also hosting the Golden Shears Junior and Open Sheep Shearing Championships, attracting the best sheep shearers from across the country,” says Mr Lyons. “In addition, this year we are hosting the South West area qualifier for the National Young Farmers Clubs, leading to the final at the Great Yorkshire Show in July.”

A new class for veteran sows complements the veteran pig exhibitor prize, while in the poultry section there are classes for virtually every breed of large fowl, bantam, pigeon, duck, goose and turkey – and their eggs – you can think of, culminating in the Poultry Club Summer National championships.

There is also an orchard competition for cider and apple producers, with entries judged on tree health, tidiness, apple crops, pruning and the environment. Winners receive industry-wide recognition and get to host an orchard walk led by an industry expert in July.

“As ever we have secured some of the best national and international judges for our livestock and orchard competitions, and exhibitors will need to be at the top of their game to claim the prestigious championship prizes,” says Mr Lyons. “But the Show is also one of the friendliest on the circuit, with a wonderful Showmans’ Supper and live music going on into the night. With close competition, over £70,000 of prize money and a superb atmosphere it really is an event not to miss.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Competition schedules and tickets are available from the website: www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £5 discount on early adult bookings.

Dotty Duckling’s Easter Egg Hunt Trail

Join the Easter Egg Hunt Trail at Hestercombe this Easter!

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere at Hestercombe – there are daffodils in the gardens, birds chirping in the trees and ducks splashing on the pond.

Mother Duck has hidden Easter eggs all around the gardens for Dotty Duckling to find, but she has been so busy hunting for them that she is going to be late for tea! Will you join the Easter Egg Hunt and help Dotty gather the last eggs and find her way back to the Pear Pond?

Trail: £2 per child (includes prize) Normal admission applies, no need to book.

Considering LPG as a farming energy source during winter …

Anyone involved in the strategic operation of a farm – regardless of whether the end product is crop or animal-based - will be aware that the processes involved in keeping the business afloat and profitable are energy-intensive.  From running tractors, to tending to livestock, or keeping a crop store heated … all require significant energy input.

This situation can become even more critical during the autumn and winter months, when harsh conditions make it more difficult for farmers to harvest, package and distribute produce. Add this to the challenges that come with heating rural, remote and off-grid agricultural locations (traditionally served by inefficient fuels like oil), and a farm’s energy supply can become fairly problematic.

For farmers looking for a greener, cheaper and more effective off-grid fuel solution that’s reliable even in colder seasons, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) could be an alternative.  LPG has increasingly become a go-to for farmers looking to meet ongoing heating or operational needs without compromising on outputs and the quality of their end product – or becoming dependent on an expensive alternative fuel.

When farming tasks take place off-grid…

Available in gas cylinder and bulk form, LPG provides an alternative to oil and solid fuels for off-grid agricultural use. It can be used for heating or transport in all types of farming processes, while also delivering a range of operational and environmental benefits. From dairy processing and poultry rearing right though to maintaining the perfect temperature for crop drying (or even propane enrichment of biomethane in anaerobic digestion plants), farmers have turned to LPG for its cleaner, more cost-effective and easily-controllable capabilities.

For farmers looking to understand the benefits of LPG, we take a look at how gas could become an essential part of efficient farming in the winter months:

1)          Using LPG for the care of livestock

Whether it be barn ventilation, lights, supplying food and water or manure handling, poultry cultivation requires a huge amount of energy. For birds and livestock, a constant heat supply is crucial to their survival – especially during colder seasons.

By choosing LPG, farmers and animals can potentially benefit from:

  • An efficient and cleaner-burning fuel, LPG reduces the risk of contamination within livestock (through feeds and litter) – ensuring that animals are kept as safe as possible.

  • The moisture produced by LPG heating is the perfect level to promote speedy feathering and weight gain amongst poultry.

  • Choosing an LPG supplier with a national supply network means deliveries can be made quickly and efficiently, keeping birds warm all-year round.

 

2)          Commercial plants and flowers – and heating

Maintaining constant temperatures for commercially grown plants and flowers is crucial to securing profits. When temperatures begin to drop, plants are naturally at greater risk of being damaged by frost, so it’s important to have the right heating system in place. LPG, as opposed to other off-grid options like oil, allows plant growers to benefit from a cleaner burning fuel, ensuring crops remain free from contamination. Depending on the size of the operation, farmers can also choose between an LPG gas cylinder, or bottle (which can easily be handled and lifted) and LPG gas tanks (which can be topped up automatically), meaning an energy system that delivers a constant heat supply for horticulture.

 

3.          Incorporating an LPG system for crop drying

When it comes to drying crops and grains, an LPG system can be a huge commodity to farmers looking to dry their produce quickly. As a highly controllable source of fuel, LPG makes for a more precise drying process, allowing farmers to maintain ideal levels of moisture without over-drying. The result is quicker drying all round, whilst also enabling farmers to preserve the quality of their crops, and ensure that the final product meets market specification.

Additionally, with LPG grain drying technology, there’s the potential to recycle heated air, providing an even more efficient way to dry grain, without increasing fuel consumption.

 

4.         Can LPG reduce your carbon footprint?

For farmers looking for greener ways of working, LPG can offer environmental benefits. It’s a lower-carbon alternative to conventional fossil fuels, cutting carbon emissions by approximately 15 % compared to heating oil (and 33% compared to coal). It also doesn’t produce black carbon – which is a major contributor to climate change. 

As a transport fuel for tractors or other farming machinery, it’s also estimated that LPG (or propane) produces up to 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, and 11% fewer emissions than diesel engines. Not only that, but the risk to the local environment is also kept to a minimum, as propane is non-toxic – providing a cleaner, greener, and cost-effective fuel solution for all kinds of farming uses.

 

Sources

[1] https://lpg-apps.org/index.php?mact=LPGApi,cntnt01,application,0&cntnt01application_id=16&cntnt01returnid=17&cntnt01sector_id=2&cntnt01subsector_id=24

[1] https://www.flogas.co.uk/business-lpg-farming#lpg-supply-options-41

[1] Gas for Off-grid Britain’ Report, UKLPG, https://www.uklpg.org/resources/gas-for-off-grid-britain

[1] Gas for Off-grid Britain’ Report, UKLPG, https://www.uklpg.org/resources/gas-for-off-grid-britain

[1] https://www.smithgas.com/propane-uses-in-agriculture

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Sheppy’s Brings Home Three Golds at the Industry Leading International Cider Awards

Current Master of Cider, David Sheppy, replicates grandfather’s 1930s success

Somerset’s oldest cidermaker, Sheppy’s Cider, are celebrating multiple gold medal success at the coveted International Cider Awards. Established in 1888 and evolving consistently over time to reflect an ever-changing cider industry, the International Cider Awards aim to reward and recognise the innovation, attention to detail and hard work that goes into cider production.

The judging took place over three days, covering multiple categories across sweet and dry styles. Sheppy’s beat off stiff competition from more than 182 ciders entered by 62 cider producers from 24 countries, including small and regional to multi-national manufacturers.

Sheppy’s took a clean sweep for:

200 Special Edition - Tannic Cider category. Celebrating 200 years and six generations of cider making, made from a blend of the very finest traditional cider apples. Also recently voted ‘Cider of the Year’ by The Stable Bar and Restaurants chain.

Classic Draught – Modern Cider category. A famous Classic Draught cider made with a carefully selected blend of Somerset’s finest traditional cider and dessert apples.

Low Alcohol Classic Cider – Low Alcohol category. A beautifully light and crisp low-alcohol cider with a refreshing apple taste. The cider delivers the same flavour profile as its traditional cider, but with less alcohol.

The accolades are of particular importance to Sheppy’s as they are the modern equivalent of the award’s sixth generation and current Master of Cider, David Sheppy’s grandfather won in the 1930s, which started Sheppy’s on it’s road to becoming one of the most distinguished cider makers in the country.

Master of Cider, David Sheppy comments: “We are beyond thrilled to have won three gold medals across three categories. The success has a particular resonance with me having followed in my grandfather Stanley’s footsteps. He crafted the early prototype of our Gold Medal cider, which won two gold awards at an earlier version of the same awards in the 1930s. My family has since been making premium cider for over 200 years and we are incredibly proud of our heritage and the skills we pass from generation to generation, which are at the heart of everything Sheppy’s does. It’s fantastic for Sheppy’s to have been recognised at this level again!”

Speaking of this year’s medal winners, Ruth Evans MBE, Director of Brewing Technology Services who oversees the awards, said: “It brings me great pleasure to announce the medal winners, and no small measure of pride to be involved in our fantastic industry. These awards are a bastion of excellence, and we are always sincerely impressed by the talent of the medal winners. With each round of awards, the standards are pushed ever higher. Competition is fierce, and receiving a medal is an achievement to be truly proud of. My congratulations to all!”

The International Cider Awards will culminate with the medal presentations at London’s Guildhall, where members of the international brewing and cider-making community will come together to discover and celebrate the 2019 trophy winners.

Cornish food and farming education project hits milestone

A project aimed at educating the next generation about the links between agriculture and where their food comes from has engaged thousands of Cornish primary school children since it began.

Organiser of the Royal Cornwall Show, the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association (RCAA), launched the Farm & Country Days On The Road project at the end of 2017 to further the reach of their educational work.

The project centres around a purpose-built trailer kitted out with interactive resources and activities which is taken to local schools to help their pupils aged from 4 - 11 learn about farming and food production.

A recent visit to Pencoys Primary School at Four Lanes near Redruth saw the 5000th pupil climb the trailer’s tailgate to participate. Over the past 16 months 61 schools across Cornwall have enjoyed a visit.

Education coordinator and former primary school teacher, Emma Parkyn, leads the RCAA’s educational activities and is enjoying enlightening food consumers and farmers of the future with this important knowledge.

Emma said:

“We try to make it fun and exciting so the children enjoy finding out more about what farming is all about and they often ask some very interesting questions.

“Getting properly stuck in is the order of the day and we have lots of hands on activities to bring everything we do to life, it also fits neatly into various aspects of the national curriculum.

“Our provision is constantly evolving and our latest addition, a life size dairy goat called Demelza that can be milked, has proven a big hit not only with the children but also the staff and parents when we turn up at a school and wheel her out of our trailer.”

The charity began working with schools by setting up and running the popular Farm & Country Days at its Wadebridge showground in 2013. So far more than 7000 seven to nine-year-old children from across the county have attended the annual event.

For more information about the project or the RCAA’s educational work please visit www.royalcornwall.co.uk/education or contact Emma Parkyn on 01208 817016 or email: emmaparkyn@royalcornwall.co.uk.

Photo credit: Steven Michell  Year 1 pupils from Pencoys Primary School join Emma Parkyn, RCAA education coordinator (left) and volunteer Kelly Parsons (right) to celebrate the 5000th Cornish primary school pupil to enjoy the Farm & Country Days On The Road project.

Photo credit: Steven Michell

Year 1 pupils from Pencoys Primary School join Emma Parkyn, RCAA education coordinator (left) and volunteer Kelly Parsons (right) to celebrate the 5000th Cornish primary school pupil to enjoy the Farm & Country Days On The Road project.