Young Farmer Focus: Helen Brown, Carlisle, North Cumbria

Young farmersAgronomyCrops

Crops: Growing up on an arable, beef and sheep farm in North Cumbria, I soon realised I was mostly interested in crop production and I set my ambitions as an agronomist.


I applied to Harper Adams University to study agriculture and crop management and embarked on the journey to Shropshire in 2013.


My final year of Harper Adams is now well underway. For my dissertation project I am studying ways to minimise the impact of waterlogging in wheat, something we unfortunately saw a lot of last winter – especially in the North West.


Busy: A standard week at Harper Adams includes lectures, crop walks and, of course, plenty of socialising.


From rugby matches to fancy dress parties and balls in the Student Union bar, there is always something to do.


Out of term and back in Cumbria, I keep busy helping my dad on-farm, especially during the harvest months.


Young Farmer: I also enjoy getting involved in my local Young Farmers’ Club.


As vice-secretary of Carlisle YFC I am always keen to get involved in competitions, such as flower arranging and farm planning, along with charity events and the many social events and dinner dances held each year.


Agronomist: I spent my placement year with H L Hutchinsons, also known as Cropwise in the North.


My placement year was very varied and my jobs included helping at trial sites across the country from Alnwick to Cornwall, looking at a number of things from cereal, oilseed rape, maize and grass variety trials to seed rate and grass-weed control trials.


I also spent a large period of the year crop walking in North Cumbria, where I was mostly looking at cereals, maize, grassland and OSR.


My placement year was a perfect opportunity to confirm agronomy was the career for me and Cumbria was where I wanted to be based.


Cumbria has mostly mixed farms with livestock and arable, but also a lot of dairy. This mixed farming aspect made being out and about on farms all the more interesting for me.


Thanks to my placement I am returning to Cumbria and taking a position as a trainee agronomist with Hutchinsons after I graduate next summer and I will then take my BASIS, FACTS and other related qualifications.


I am looking forward to getting stuck in as an agronomist in this area.

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