SUCCESS for the county's largest agricultural college in a prestigious Cumbrian farming competition has sparked ambitions of competing on the national stage.

Newton Rigg College, part of Askham Bryan College, was awarded first place in the Cumbria Grassland Society's silage competition, drawing praise from the judge for the clamp management, the quality of the silage and for the cattle feeding regime.

Matt Bagley, Head of Farms for Askham Bryan College said: “We're absolutely delighted to have won, particularly as we were up against stiff competition from some very good farmers.

"The college is a past winner but it was many, many years ago so it's given us a real boost - and we now have our sights set on the national competition organised by the British Grassland Society.

"This provides a great learning experience for our students, many of whom will work on dairy farms so hands-on knowledge of best practice is incredibly valuable to them both for their studies and for their future careers."

The competition drew 27 entries from across the county with the first stage involving chemical analysis carried out remotely on each sample, examining dry matter, digestibility, and feed-ability.

For Newton Rigg, the analysis was based on first cut silage, taken on 13 May, at the college's Sewborwens Farm.

A visit to Sewborwens by judge Bob Kendal of Alltech then followed with points awarded for the management of the clamp, the quality of the silage preservation, and the feed out system.

Mr Kendal, Regional Ruminant Sales Manager for Alltech said: "At Newton Rigg, the silage was keeping particularly well even though it was quite high in sugar, because it had been compacted and sealed well.

"It also had very low volatile fatty acids making it more palatable to cattle and the hands-on feeding regime and active management of the cattle was impressive. Care was taken to ensure that the feed was always accessible which is important."