I applied for the 2018 award for Agriculture because I felt that it would help me to further my skills and knowledge in the agricultural industry and it was an opportunity to experience a completely different way of farming. While I was in the UK I wanted to learn new skills, and increase my networks in the industry.
Before leaving Australia, I organised my placement, flights, visa and all my travel arrangements while in the UK. This was a very long process for me, as my initial plans fell through at the last so I had to quickly change all my plans in a very short time frame. This gave me some valuable lessons in time management and organisation.
Balgray Estate is located just outside of the town of Lockerbie (famous for a terrorist attack where a plane crashed into the town after a bomb exploded in 1988) it is owned by a family who became rich off trade to China and Hong Kong (some of the main commodi ties that they traded were, among others; Opium, Cotton, Tea and Silk). David and Rosemarie Cornthwaite are tenant farmers on the estate, and have been farming the land for approximately twenty-five years, after moving up from England. They farm most of the property, a total of 910Ha of land on which they run approximately 400 head of cattle, 1800 head of sheep and 80 Boergoats. They also cut hay, silage and grow Barley and Maze.
I went to many sheep and cattle sales as well as two shows, these were some of the highlights of my time on the farm. Some of the jobs I did on the farm were:
- Feed new born lambs (lambing was just finishing up when I arrived)
- Feeding the goats & cattle
- Moving livestock
- Helping in the sheep yards during crutching and drenching (they crutch, drench and vaccinate both sheep and lambs at the same time)
- Mucking out sheds
- Separating individual and small groups from the herd
- Moving cattle around the property
- Helping with different jobs in the crush, including, vaccination, castration, weighing
- Milking mothers who won’t let their calves suckle
- Monitoring sick and injured animals
- Preparing cattle for show
I also took some time to travel around the UK and visit places such as London, Carlisle, Glasgow, Loch Lomond, and Edinburgh. These travels helped me to get a really good understanding of the history of the UK and how it has impacted on farming. Furthermore, there was many occasions throughout my travels that I had to put my trust into people that I just met, from meeting my hosts at the airport to accepting an offer from a lady I met at church to go on a trip to the beach for the day. I feel like this, and also having to make plans and change them at the last minute, in some cases, really helped me to grow as a person.
Some recommendations I would give future awardees would be; go to an agricultural show, they are very different to the shows in Australia, and it can give you a lot of ideas and also some contacts. Talk to people, people over there are very helpful and are more than happy to give you advice or even contacts that you can use. I would also recommend going to some sale yards, as for me, they were a highlight as they gave me aninteresting insight in how they market their animals and the specifications they follow, in both their breeding stock and cull stock.
I had an amazing time in Scotland. I gained lots of new skills and made some good contacts through my experiences there. It is a beautiful place, full of history, natural wonders and amazing people who have farmed the land for generations. I am looking forward to taking the new skills I have learned into my future career, and using them to help me enrich my life, and the lives of those around me.Update Your Details