Agriculture & Land Management
At Askham Bryan College we’re committed to the future of farming.
Agriculture and Land Management
We’re committed to the future of farming. At both Askham Bryan and Newton Rigg we have many students studying Agriculture and Land Management and is one of our most popular subject areas. To study at Askham Bryan you don’t have to be from a farming background, in fact many of our students aren’t and they come from a variety of backgrounds and locations, both rural and urban. Our Agricultural courses are ideal for individuals who have a real passion for the outdoors and are looking for a future in the ever changing and expanding Agricultural sector. Not only do our courses give students the practical skills to care for livestock and crops, but they also look at agriculture as a bigger picture, exploring the environmental impact of farming and ways to improve farming techniques for the future. We have invested heavily into our farm resources across our Colleges in Yorkshire and Cumbria, and offer students the opportunity to put theory into practice and gain practical experience on both arable and livestock farms and in both upland and lowland terrains. The college’s commitment to agriculture is further emphasised with the recent purchase of 120 hectares of arable and woodland in nearby Askham Richard, providing our students the best possible grounding for a career in the industry.
Our College Farms
Across both Colleges we farm nearly 1000 hectares of land over five farms based in two diverse locations. Within the Vale of York we have Westfield Farm which is on our Askham Bryan Campus, newly acquired Home Farm based in nearby Askham Richard and Headley Hall Farm in Tadcaster which is located a short distance away.
Sewborwens Farm located on the Newton Rigg Campus and just a short distance away is Lowbeckside Farm, our hill farm in Mungrisedale. Our farms are an integral part of each College; they are well equipped with a wide selection of machinery and facilities for both commercial and educational purposes. Students studying at both Colleges have access to all five farms enabling them to gain valuable work experience in different upland and lowland farming terrains and alternative farming systems in both high and low rainfall areas.
Westfield Farm, Askham Bryan -185 Hectares
Farm Manager: Mike Patch
The College estate is divided in two by the A64, to the south the soil type tends to be a deep working sandy loam, although there are areas in some fields that are noticeably heavier.
• Rotation of winter wheat, spring barley, grass, potatoes and maize
• An impressive Dairy Unit with a herd of 250 milking cows Holstein Friesians are milked through a De Laval 20 / 20 rapid exit parlour and 60 of the cows are milked through a state of the art Lely Astronaut Robotic Milker
• In addition to this we also have 140 young dairy replacements
• 80 beef cattle
• 250 breeding ewes split 50/50 between North Country Mules and Texel Cross Mules
• Also housed at Westfield is the National Beef Training Centre, the farm office, lecture, computer rooms and staff offices
Home Farm, Askham Richard, 132 Hectares
Farm Manager: Mike Patch
Recently acquired Home Farm is run as a commercial farm but also provides a valuable resource not only for agriculture students but also for arboriculture students who manage and develop the woodlands, equine students who have the ability to ride around the hacking tracks and wildlife and conservation students who utilise the land for their studies on arable, woodland and wetland habitats.
• 132 Hectares of Grade 2 arable land
• Currently growing potatoes, wheat, winter barley and oilseed rape
• Woodland and wetland habitiats
• Hacking Tracks
Headley Hall Farm, Tadcaster - 230 Hectares
Farm Manager: Mike Patch
Headley Hall Farm, Tadcaster is a short distance down the road from Askham Bryan College and is owned by the University of Leeds and managed by Mike Patch our Farm Manager. It is essentially an arable holding although there is a range of farm buildings including a World War 1 Aircraft
hanger, which is a grade 1 listed building, this has been used as a grain store in the past.
• It consists of 230 Hectares
• A current arable rotation of potatoes, wheat, winter barley, oil seed rape, wheat, vining peas
• Soil types at Headley Hall are very different to that at Askham Bryan College, soils are essentially a ‘thin’ soil over a bed of limestone, this is evidenced by the amount of working and disused lime quarries both on and surrounding the estate
• Land also used for heifer and sheep grazing along with the production of hay or haylage
Industry Fact File
The land based sector remains a major contributor to the UK economy. Agriculture alone employs almost 2% of the total UK workforce. Lantra, the skills council for the sector has identified that skills to provide the nation with food and combat the serious impact climate change is having on our land are essential. Lantra reports ‘The Agricultural industry has around 150,000 businesses - that’s 6% of all UK businesses and 660,000 employees.’ They also estimate that at least 86,000 new workers will be needed in the sector over the next ten years. The Environmental Secretary Caroline Spelman at the Oxford Farming Conference 2011 stated ‘We want more young people to enter the industry and we want everyone to see the potential in UK farming. It is an industry that with the food sector enjoys an £85 billion income.’