Rising to the Cereals Challenge

Rising to the Cereals Challenge

RISEHOLME students were the highest placed further education team at the 2013 Cereals Challenge.

The top prize was taken by Newcastle University, whilst Harper Adams University were runners up. Level 3 Agriculture students Emma Mottram and Ben Wray, supported by David Mapplethorpe and Henry Willoughby, were delighted to be awarded third place. The team had been managing their plot of winter barley from February until June, on a cereals site near Lincoln.
Now in its fourth year, the Cereals Challenge is organised to crop production specialists Hutchinsons and farm business management company Velcourt. It aims to encourage a new generation of agronomists and farmers by giving them crop to manage and sell.

Students were tasked with producing the most profitable crop, but the competition also hinged on their submission of a report describing the crop nutrition and protection.

Speaking of the team’s success, Vice Principal, Bill Meredith, said, “The fact that they made it to the final six teams was excellent, then to come third against stiff opposition from universities and degree level students is something of which they should be rightly proud.”

Emma Mottram described the experience, saying, “We had to make real-time decisions related to the crop and be able to be flexible depending on the conditions. The late spring and cold weather caused some problems, but then the crop recovered quickly. The fast growth brought fungal disease, which we controlled with the latest fungicides.

“We had some good feedback from the Hutchinsons representative, who suggested maybe we should have used 180kg of nitrogen instead of 150kg and a dose of manganese that might have helped the nitrogen take-up. But overall we’happy with the result.”

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