Blog: Georgie Radmore
31st December 2015
Georgie Radmore (23) is an NSA Next Generation Ambassador 2015 from Yelverton, Devon. She was selected to be an Ambassador during her final few months of an Agriculture and Animal Science degree at Harper Adams, when looking ahead to a career supporting the livestock sector, running her own sheep alongside it and continuing to spend time on the family farm.
Georgie already has plenty of practical experience, working for six months in Australian shearing sheds, spending her university holidays with a large flock in Wales, and splitting her placement year between an animal health company (where she qualified to be an SQP) and the lamb procurement team of a premium supermarket. She used the knowledge gained to run a profitable flying flock and is looking forward to having a commercial flock again after her exams.
Scroll down for entries from Georgie about her farming year in 2015.
I started off 2015 by returning to Harper early to start the Eblex ewe nutrition trial with five other students for our dissertations. Each student takes a specific route to look into one thing in more detail; I am looking into the effect of DUP protein and body condition score on the faecal egg counts in pregnant and lactating ewes. A ewe’s immune system tends to wane around the late stages of pregnancy and during lactation, causing increased faecal egg counts. So I am looking into possible ways to mitigate this lack in immunity to worms during this stage of the production cycle.
We have all been busy with the ewes, including weighing out all feeds individually to the precision of one nut! Every two weeks I have been taking faecal and blood samples to look at the immune response of the ewes. The ewes were synchronized, so all lambed in a week, and during that week we were taking a number of measurements which required a clip-board full of notes attached to every ewe’s pen. There is a week left of the trial before we finish, and then I can get analysing the results and writing up my dissertation!
I have also managed to secure myself a graduate position, for when I finish at Harper. I will be working alongside the animal health manager in CCF Agri, based in the head office. CCF Agri is a farmer owned co-operative trading across Wales in a wide range of farming products. This is a great opportunity and I am excited about getting out into the commercial world.
The first NSA Ambassador delivery session was full of varied activities, which I found very helpful. The vet talk was particularly handy, and I came away with several tips to help with day-to-day sheep farming. Meeting like-minded 'sheep people' was also great and I am looking forward to the next session.
I have just handed in my dissertation. I was looking at the effect of dietary digestible un-degradable protein levels and body condition scores on faecal egg counts in pregnant and lactating ewes. Seven other students and I were involved in a trial on the Harper Adams University sheep flock. We were involved in general husbandry of the sheep and lab work for 10 weeks. I also read over 70 papers of research on the topic and then wrote 10,000 words after lots of statistical analysis of the data collected to complete it! So needless to say I am very relieved I have finally got it handed in!
Whilst I was writing my dissertation a couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from my brother saying that he was off to Corsica in the Mediterranean to go and shear sheep for three weeks… I was pretty jealous as I was sat in the library at the time, but can’t wait to hear all about it.
Revising hard for my finals at the moment; just over a month and it will be all done! Then off to the world of work in the animal health department of CCF-agri.
I have finally finished all of my exams! This is a massive relief after many very long library sessions. I think I was in the library until 10pm, when it closes, nearly every day over the last six weeks. Hopefully I don’t forget too much of what I have learnt!
My brother has just got back from shearing sheep in Corsica. He enjoyed shearing over there and said it was very different from over here in the UK. He said that all the sheep were only about 30-35kg and they were all milked.
After my end of year summer ball at Harper Adams University, I went straight down to Pembrokeshire to look for housing. I’ll relocate later there in the summer for my graduate job with CCF-agri. I looked at a bungalow on the side of a dairy and sheep farm which I have my heart set on, partially as I love the idea of helping on the farm in evenings and weekends!
I have been home for a few days now and I’m enjoying getting back out on the farm with my parents. My dad is also very pleased with the ram I persuaded him to buy last autumn, which was a relief. He even wants to buy more this autumn, as most of the lambs were slaughtered at 11 weeks old with no creep!
Throughout July I enjoyed being at home with my family on the farm. I spent many days gathering our Scotch sheep up on Dartmoor and then shearing, drenching, and marking them all ready to go back. It is very satisfying to see them all sheared and marked, walking back up to the moors where they are hefted.
At the end of July I travelled up north to our third NSA Next Generation session, it was a long drive but definitely worth it! On the first day we had a personal development session in Skipton auction mart, where I am sure we all picked up some helpful tips to remember on everything, from time management to negotiation. We spent the second day with the British Wool marketing Board (BWMB), seeing the depot, a wool auction followed by a tour of the Howarth scouring plant. On the third day we went to Roaming Roosters, a farm shop then a farm walk at Pot Haw Farm, Skipton, where farm was run under a share farming agreement.
I went with my parents to go and select a couple new rams, after studying the EBVs and a short discussion with dad, we had selected two rams. We are taking full advantage of hybrid vigour, selecting commercial composite rams for both maternal and terminal breeding. This is our second year of using performance recorded composite rams after some very pleasing results last year, so fingers crossed for the coming year!
When the middle of August came it was time to move to Wales. My first day of my graduate job at CCF Agri was the last day of the Pembrokeshire county show, which was great for meeting new work colleagues and some of the farmers it supplies. Working within the animal health department at CCF is a very varied role. I find the technical side of the role very interesting, looking at disease surveillance and understanding the different health issues affecting different farms and systems and the best way to prevent and treat for them. It has also been great meeting so many people from other businesses in the industry with a wide range of expertise.
I am now getting back into Young Farmers in Pembrokeshire, which is great and I am looking forward to taking part in various activities and competitions again. I am planning on going home in the next few weeks though, as we are going to be gathering all the hill sheep off the moor again for ‘clearance days’ and also treat all the sheep and put the rams in.
I have been living in Pembrokeshire and at my new job in CCF (Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers) for around two months now; getting stuck into the job, finding my feet and grabbing opportunities available. I have been working on liver fluke surveillance projects to enable us to best advice farmers on the disease, by gaining information on its activity across Wales from abattoir data and other sources. Recently I have also been involved in planning a farmer meeting on helping sheep farmers develop successful feeding plans this winter, with my input being mainly on using EID for improved management opportunities. As well as working in head office most of the time, I have had the chance to get out talking to farmers at local markets and working in branch some Saturdays which has been great.
Being from Devon and moving to West Wales is the obvious issue, and I have at times struggled with my lack of knowledge of the Welsh language! I now have a CD and booklet to attempt to learn the language, or as best as I can. However, I may have bitten off more than I can chew with tomorrow being part of a Young Farmer’s choir competition… singing a Welsh song!
Well what a year! Needless to say, I have gained considerably from the programme and opportunity to be an NSA Next
Generation Ambassador. Starting off the programme while I was finishing my degree was a difficult balance of time, but at the same time supplemented my studies at Harper Adams very well. Workshops on various things from various people, including vets and consultants, has been a great opportunity to gain much more understanding, from the best in the industry.
A key subject I am interested in is the sustainable control of parasites, so a whole afternoon workshop on that subject with an industry expert was invaluable to me;
the knowledge gained has not only helped me look at parasite control at home on my parent’s farm in Devon, but also helped me in my new job at CCF in Pembrokeshire, where part of my role is advising farmers and colleagues on this subject. I also particularly enjoyed the speakers I met and farms we walked. They not
only imparted on us their knowledge and experience, but also in many cases, a mind-set on how they have approached their business, careers and lives in farming
which was both interesting and gave food for thought.
Many of the things discussed in the programme with fellow ambassadors and the various supporters of the scheme have given me more confidence to persuade my
dad to make changes at home! I have been very lucky with my parents being accepting of change and very innovative minded themselves, so we are going to have some
exciting times ahead with new rams and breeding choices, and many other smaller things we have been trying out. I am starting to get to grips with my
graduate role and have been given the opportunity, along with another ‘sheep mad’ colleague, to start some sheep
projects and undergo more specialist training in sheep production. I haven’t been able to look at buying my own sheep again yet but, hopefully, when I am more
settled I will again become a sheep owner; where my passion undoubtedly lies! I am looking forward to being involved in the NSA in years to come and hope I can fulfil my role as an Ambassador well.