Level 3 Farm Mechanisation
About this course
During this course you will learn how to work effectively with agricultural machinery in a range of landbased, predominantly arable situations, both on our own 1600 acre farm and in the well-equipped workshops.

A key part of the learning experience will be undertaking challenging and engaging projects which include ploughing ahead of the farms maize crop as well as grass and maize forage harvesting operations. Also of importance is learner involvement in crop establishment and maintenance with our experienced in-house agronomist as well as general estate management.
 
These activities are all designed to further enhance and develop your skills, industry understanding, teamwork and confidence in order to meet the challenges of working in an ever developing farming sector.
What will I learn?

On this course you will undertake units selected from;

The Principles of Plant Science
This unit aims to introduce learners to an understanding of plant science and how this can be applied in practice within the field. This involves a combination of field, laboratory and practical sessions aimed at delivering core scientific knowledge that is still applicable at farm level.

The Principles of Soil Science
This unit aims to introduce learners to investigative skills and knowledge of soil science and how this can be applied in practice within the field. Laboratory work, field walks and associated practical sessions will reinforce the great importance of soils to any resilient and sustainable farming system.

Undertaking an Investigative Project in the Landbased Sector
Research is important to any forward thinking business. This unit aims to help learners gain an understanding of the principles of undertaking an investigative project and how this can be put into practice.

Undertaking and Reviewing Work Related Experience in the Landbased Industries
The aim of this unit is to give learners the skills needed to identify, participate in and review work experience in the agricultural sector. Learners must carry out a minimum of 300 hours of related industry experience to successfully complete this unit. Extensive college practical sessions such as the maize campaign will contribute to towards this but sourcing work experience with other external agricultural operations is encouraged and actively supported.

Business Management in the Landbased Sector
Learners will look at the business environment, the roles and responsibilities of those employed in landbased businesses and resource requirements. They will develop their skills in business operations and produce a business plan relevant to their career aspirations.

Undertaking Estate Skills
This unit aims to introduce learners to estate skills, underpinning knowledge and how these can be applied in practice. Skills will generally include fencing, hedging, basic construction projects and surfacing.

Undertaking Landbased Industries Pollution and Waste Control Management
This unit aims to provide learners with an understanding of the principles of landbased industries pollution and waste management control and how these can be applied in practice. Knowledge of this is imperative for any agricultural business given ever tightening controls, legislation and environmental responsibilities.

Undertaking Agricultural Livestock Production
This unit aims to introduce learners to the skills and knowledge required for agricultural livestock production, and how these can be applied in practice. This will be delivered through direct involvement with the college farms dairy and beef herds, the sheep flock and outdoor pig operation.

Undertaking Agricultural Crop Production
This unit aims to introduce learners to the skills and knowledge required for succesfula nd efficient agricultural crop production. Lackham farm annually grows around 800 acres of combinable and forage crops across a diverse rotation. This is overseen by the farm manager and in-house agronomist (who teaches this unit) thereby providing learners with knowledge and experience relating to real life arable scenarios.

Understanding Farm Power Units - Machinery and Operation
This unit aims to introduce learners to the skills and knowledge needed for managing and operating farm power units, and how these can be applied in practice. The aim of this unit is to develop learners’ knowledge and understanding of cost effective management of agricultural machinery. The tractor fleet employed in this delivery includes modern machines from most major manufacturers up to 200hp, a self-propelled Claas forager and two JCB loadalls.

Undertaking Landbased Workshop Practice
This unit aims to introduce learners to workshop skills and knowledge and how these can be applied in practice. Students will undertake repairs and maintenance with a range of machines using the well-equipped workshop and stores. Good general workshop practice including health and safety and working methods will also be covered.

Understanding and Using Agricultural Spreaders and Sprayers
This unit will introduce learners to the skills and knowledge needed for the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of agricultural spreaders and sprayers. The learners will develop an awareness of the equipment and techniques used to apply ag-chems and fertilisers, the routine maintenance and use of sprayers and spreaders, and the legislation that applies to their operation. They will develop practical skills needed to safely operate and maintain sprayers and spreaders and investigate the impact of developments in related technology on operator safety and the wider environment. A range of machinery will be employed including self-propelled and mounted sprayers, RTK GPS guidance equipment and weigh cell equipped spreaders.

Undertaking Landbased Machinery Operations
In this unit learners will study the purpose and operation of landbased machines including machine layout, systems and controls. They will explore daily checks and adjustments as well as appropriate personal protective equipment and the legal requirements relating to machinery use. They will learn how to safely operate and maintain machinery through real-life ‘on-farm’ practical sessions such as the ploughing campaign and muck spreading. Machinery includes modern mowers, tedders and rakes along with rear discharge dung spreaders and a wide range of cultivation equipment. This year also heralds the introduction of some direct drilling with a Weaving GD disc drill.

 

Entry requirements
  • 4 GCSEs grade A*-C including Maths, English and Science or equivalent (or at least a 'Merit' grade for those progressing from a relevant Level 2 Diploma programme.
    • An aptitude test
    • A good reference
    • A satisfactory interview
 
Study, assessment and qualifications
Through a range of exams, assignments and practical assessments.
On completion of the two-years the final qualification will be a Level 3 1080 Extended Diploma in Agriculture (Farm Mechanisation).
Additional costs and information
Learners are expected to supply their own protective boots and overalls, writing equipment, clipboard and calculator.
There are often opportunities to broaden your experience, qualifications and ultimately employability through optional extra certifications (at preferential prices). These include certificates of competence such as PA units, telehandler, welding and chainsaw operation.

Visits are an integral part of this course with destinations such as Tillage Live and Grassland & Muck along with many other major industry events. Please note that learners may be expected to contribute towards any transport and entrance fees.
What could I do next?
Successful completion of this course (at a sufficient grade and so UCAS points score) offers the opportunity to progress onto a Foundation Degree or Degree level courses here at Wiltshire College or elsewhere.

Career opportunities could include working as a tractor driver, agricultural contractor, machinery demonstrator and arable or workshop technician. It would also be a useful arable introduction for those wishing to pursue a career in agronomy, field trials or other related technical agricultural professions.