High-flying student qualifies for Dairy-Tech finals

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A student studying in Cornwall has been selected as a finalist in the National Farm Health Management Awards 2020. 

Nikki Smale from Bradworthy, a student on Duchy College’s BSc (Hons) Rural Business Management course, will attend the presentation at the Dairy-Tech event at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry in February.

The competition, organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF), aims to raise awareness of the importance of proactive farm health planning among younger members of the industry.

Sponsored by Volac, the entrants had to prepare a 1500-word essay demonstrating their understanding of proactive health planning. 

They were asked to identify the barriers to adopting such a strategy and how to overcome those issues to improve heath and profitability.  Students undertook the task as part of their Managing Animal Production module and Nikki was one of three chosen to represent the College.

Nikki won through in the category for students studying agriculture at colleges across Britain.  It is open to agriculture, livestock and veterinary students from any course year– including postgraduate students.

“I was most surprised to be selected as a finalist and be able to visit the Dairy-Tech 2020 event,” she said.

Judged by a panel comprising a farmer, a practising farm vet and chaired by dairy consultant, John Sumner, entrants were praised for their entries. 

“The standard of the essays was encouraging, and it was evident that the candidates had all grasped the fundamentals of proactive health management,” John said.

He also confirmed that Duchy College has had the highest success rate of any College or University over the duration of the competition.

Paul Ward of the Rural Business School and programme manager said Nikki did very well to become a finalist, “producing an essay of top quality”.

“This reflects the expertise that Duchy College’s agricultural team has built up as a result the Rural Business School running successful knowledge exchange programmes such as ‘Healthy Livestock’ and currently ‘BVD – Stamp It Out’ with farm vets and the livestock sector across the South West,” he added.

“The approaches to the prevention and control of both Johne’s disease and BVD, piloted in the south west have now been adopted at national level”.

Higher Education Team Lead for Rural Economy at Duchy College, Dr Jurie Intachat, said the competition was an excellent opportunity for students to apply knowledge gained from their studies and develop innovative, but realistic solutions. 

“We aim to develop our students’ professional skills and to see that they have achieved this through such competitions is an honour,” she added.

Dairy-Tech is a relatively new dairy event at Stoneleigh Park with a focus on science and technology. It is tailored to the new generation of dairy farmers, managers and technicians and showcases ground-breaking technology and innovative products and services for the dairy industry.

For more information on the range of agriculture courses available across The Cornwall College Group visit or call 0330 123 2523.