Student Update: Returning to college and selling sheep at the mart


Final-year Agriculture student, Emma McCormack is back with her another submission.

Student Update: Returning to college and selling sheep at the mart

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  • 1 year ago

Final-year Agriculture student, Emma McCormack is back with her another submission.

Final-year Agriculture student, Emma McCormack is back with her latest submission.

Thursday afternoon with a cup of tea in hand, I am sat looking out at the rain that is bouncing off of the windows.

There are clothes on the clothesline that my mother asked me to bring in, “before the rain comes”. Domestic work was never my area. I’m more interested in reading about the Ploughing and the fact that there are five new types of rotary parlour being launched there.

Bereavements

One college week down, two more to go until our first break, at Halloween. What a simple life we lead. There’s work to be done though, outside the classroom and rent to be paid.

I am home early this week from college in Waterford due to two local bereavements. Life is very short and I am forgetting this far too often.

We lost a pet at home recently also – my first pony, there is never an easy time to wave goodbye to any part of the family. This week, I’m reflecting and feeling grateful for all that I have.

Irish people tend to complain about anything they can think of, usually the weather, just for the sake of it. I’m biting my tongue today and feeling thankful to be sitting here at all, looking out at the rain that makes the grass and the wild mushrooms grow here in the boglands of Westmeath.

The Mart

The rain makes for a good evening to go to the mart, and Ballinasloe is on the cards today for the sheep sales. Hopefully, prices will not be on the floor this week - I am at the selling end of transactions today.

Decent lambs at 49.5 kg made €102 last week in Tullamore; it’s not much of an incentive to bring another load this week, but we cannot hold on to them forever.

An update, as I am just home from Ballinasloe - a lot more trade than in Tullamore but still some lambs were almost being given away. A lot of farmers were returning home without having made a sale at all. The hoggets we sold went for €147 at 65kg. Nice sheep they were but not a good enough price really.

The aim was to empty the trailer in Ballinasloe and yet, we managed to half fill it again for the trip home. 12 new hoggets to add to the flock will hopefully be a worthwhile endeavour.

It's not so bad to purchase stock at the moment, with the way prices are but hopefully, the grass will be there to keep everything fed.

It's not been a great year in any sector, but we will just have to keep going anyways and try to get a bit better at the game as we go. Nobody is ever an expert, it seems.

Hopefully, the mart next week will not be a wasted morning's work! I'll be in college for the midweek sales as of now, but I'll be sure to hit a few marts down south and see what the trade is like there.

College

It’s been good to get back down to Waterford and catch up with everyone this week as most I hadn’t seen since before Christmas as I was away gallivanting and farming.

This year is not going to be as much of a simple affair as previous semesters. I have a number of modules that are a little more complex than common sense, and attendance is a must.

We have had our practical farming experience over the past two years, between work placement and sheep; beef and dairy modules at Kildalton Agricultural College.

This semester is more book-orientated and the only bovines and I’ll be seeing are the ones I am chasing at the weekends.

Hopefully, the science and business elements of the course, although sometimes tedious, will come in handy down the line. I am sure they will.

Talk of a thesis next semester will keep attendance up this year, but the partying will continue as good as it ever was, sure we are only young once, isn’t that what they say?

The option of choosing between Fabrication and Farm Buildings electives was welcome.

Apparently, Farm Buildings is a little easier and more entertaining. Learning to build a number of types of walls is a very good skill to have. Despite all of this, I went with fabrication – I have some experience in welding, but nothing to ring home about, hence, I would very much like to improve.

I'm sure that both electives are marked the same way anyhow. Welding is a skill that I feel I need and will use. I’m unsure if I will ever attempt an entire farm building by myself, but who knows?

We have 6-weeks to complete a project, and there has been anything made in the past from bale lifters to flat trailers. I am thinking I’ll keep it simple and make something small and handy to transport back to the Midlands.

The Ploughing Championships next week will make for a good place to seek inspiration and I am sure that between the 3 females and 12 males taking this module, we will come up with some interesting structures to be placed accordingly and used in farmhouses and yards around Ireland. I’ll keep you posted.

Upskilling

I would very much recommend the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in Waterford IT. The option is there to stay on for a fourth year of study, in order to obtain a Level 8 Honours Degree; I'll see how this year goes anyhow, but it is recommended to go the whole way, while you're on a role.

I am trying to keep learning myself, and am hoping to attend an AI course very soon. I have taken up a position in a local pig farm since my return from the States, so we will see how experience in that sector goes.

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