Sophie Bell - a Cavan native - is studying a BSc Hons in Agriculture with Animal Production Science at Harper Adams University. She will publish an update on That's Farming - here is her second submission.
We did a fair amount of lab work in college over the past week, some of which included dissecting the placenta of a cow and getting an insight into what happens inside the cow during pregnancy.
Every week, we do a dissection like this, which is extremely helpful with what we learn in lectures.
We must do a laboratory analysis of a silage sample of our own choice (I used our own farm's silage), testing for the fermentation quality; chemical composition; and nutritional value.
In time, we will then formulate a diet for a group of cows ensuring it provides a sufficient amount of protein. We then must calculate the cost of the ration and benchmark with published values.
We conducted a number of field walks, analysing grassland - learning about the ins and outs of reseeding. We then ended the week with a fireworks display at the college.
In the middle of the first term, we are given a week off for reading week, which is this week; this is basically a chance to get assignments and any further reading done.
I decided to go home for this week to get a chance to spend some time at home in Cavan. Probably be more time spent outside on the farm than inside doing college work. Its also the time of year where we start buying runner calves off a dairy farm, to raise as finishers.
Two new jobs
When I get back to college after reading week, I will start two jobs - one as a weekend milker in a nearby farm, milking 500 cows.
All going well, along with that I will be working with a company called ‘Herdsy’ – this is an Irish company which has made an inexpensive tag which monitors the key performance of farm animals; I am excited to start working with them.
I didn’t expect to get any jobs this year as I wanted to focus on college work mainly as there are lots of assignment deadlines constantly; however, they popped up out of the blue and I decided to take on both opportunities. It will be busy but a great experience that I couldn’t say no to.
On another note, towards the end of the summer, I decided to join one of the local macro groups in Cavan. I didn’t realise what a big community it was and how much goes on in each club.
I try my best to get to as many events and meetings as possible (so far haven’t been to many) but from what I’ve done so far with them, there were plenty of opportunities to get involved.
I would thoroughly recommend joining a local club as it’s a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests in your local community.