October was a busy month for farms across the country, as potato-harvest season draws to a close.
On Brooksby Melton College’s 850 acre estate, the fully-operational farm is the perfect setting for Environmental Industries students in Agriculture and Land-Based Service Engineering to learn all about arable and crop farming, and to get involved with harvesting the potatoes at this time of year.
As well as supplying potatoes to a number of different catering facilities, including Brooksby Hall and the Rural Catering Centre at the Melton Campus, the potatoes grown on the Brooksby Farm are primarily produced for McCain’s.
With the help of machinery and the team from Grimme, BMC students are able to learn about the full life-cycle of the potato; from when planting takes place in the spring, right through to harvesting in the autumn. Students particularly enjoy the opportunity to get involved, experiencing driving the Grimme GT170 potato harvester, filling the trailer, getting their hands dirty sorting the potatoes, and loading the lorries with the Grimme CleanLoader.
McCain, who supplied the seed potatoes, were also on hand throughout the project to share their expert advice on all aspects of growing the crop.
Once the potatoes have left the Brooksby Farm, they will be chipped, bagged and frozen by 7pm that evening at the McCain’s factory and ready to ship out to customers!
James Fryer, Head Farm, Estate and Grounds at BMC, added “We are grateful to our friends at Grimme UK and McCain’s who are so supportive of the College and our students. It is fantastic that we can gain access to the latest hi-tech agricultural machinery and give our students the experience they need to be career-ready when they graduate. The weather has not been on our side during this harvest, so while operations have been slow, it’s given the students a great insight into the reality of farming and what to do when things don’t go as planned.”
Brooksby Melton College offers both full-time courses and apprenticeships within the field of Agriculture and Land Based Engineering, with students benefitting from working on the Brooksby Estate. BMC’s Brooksby Campus features a varied array of crops, livestock, machinery and additional agricultural apparatus for students to work on. There is also the option of fully-catered accommodation for Environmental Industries students.