2017-09-25 

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College's Vision for its Farms and Students takes Shape

Askham Bryan College, one of the country's leading land-based colleges, is to unite the management of its four farms increasing the student learning opportunities across virtually every type of UK agriculture.

The new role of Head of Farms will spearhead the initiative giving students ever more valuable hands on experience of commercial farming in everything from hill farming and dairying to lowland arable at the college's Yorkshire and Cumbrian farms.

Matt Bagley with students

Matt Bagley with students

Matt Bagley, formerly Head of Agriculture at the College's Penrith campus Newton Rigg, has been appointed to the new position and will manage a total of 880 hectares which includes the new Sheep Husbandry Training Centre and state of the art dairy unit in Cumbria and the Agri Tech centre at York.

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive of Askham Bryan College said:
“Matt's appointment complements and enhances the College's vision of providing our students with the best experience to enable and support them in their future careers. Matt is a farmer and an experienced College lecturer; he works closely with the farming community and is greatly respected by all. He will also be the college's ambassador to rural communities and the agricultural industry at regional and national levels so that best practice and the latest innovations are reflected in how we run our farms and in student learning. He will be assisted by farm managers at the York and Penrith centres.”

Matt’s appointment comes at the start of the academic year which sees more than 400 students enrolling on agriculture, land-based engineering and countryside courses. Askham Bryan is also a recognised centre of excellence for apprenticeship learning with over 230 young people studying agriculture.

Matt joined the college in January 2013 and has played a key part in the development of the £3m dairy unit and the recently opened Sheep Husbandry Training Centre at the Cumbrian base. Matt sits on a number of national committees including the National Sheep Association and the Sheep Vet Society and the Upland Alliance.

Commenting on his new role he said:
“I am delighted to be taking on this significant position and relish the opportunity to take forward greater integration between our two main agricultural centres as well as maximising student involvement in the farms.”

Askham Bryan College Farm Facilities:

At York:

  • Westfield Farm and Home Farm, totalling 280 hectares

  • Lance Gilling Agri Tech Centre opened Jan 2017 as a focus for agriculture and engineering courses

  • 240 Holstein and Holstein X milking herd with 160 followers

  • 300 breeding ewes – Texel and Mule X

  • cropping: potatoes, wheat, barley, oil seed rape, maize and grassland

  • a 3,000 tonne silage clamp was installed last year.

Newton Rigg College acquired in 2011

  • two farms, Sewborwens and Low Beckside, totalling 400 hectares, 200 hectares under a grazing agreement, plus 3,300 hectares of common grazing on the fell

  • a recognised national showcase for upland farming and the only college to have its own hill farm (Low Beckside)

  • £3m dairy unit opened in March 2014

  • Sheep Husbandry Training Centre opened in June 2017

  • around 1,000 ewes plus lambs, including 350 pure Swalesdales hefted to the fell and 300 Mules

  • 60 Luing cattle including 27 suckler cows.

  • arable – spring barley, winter wheat and forage maize at Sewborwens Farm with grassland grazing at Low Beckside.

Askham Bryan College

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