Looking after the past and training for the future is what they do at Hartpury College Farm – all while running a tremendously efficient business.

The College, on the outskirts of Gloucester, has been nominated for two titles in the Three Counties Farmer annual awards.

Farm Manager Andrew Eastabrook and his team have been nominated in the Cattle Farmer category on the basis of them 250-cow dairy herd. The cows are housed from calving, and during winter, and graze in spring and summer.

The herd averages 9,500 litres per cow per year. Cows are milked twice a day, and milk is sold on contract to Muller.

Technology is at the fore, with CCTV and heat detection cameras, gene tracking; automatic weighing and record of growth rates, and robotic feeding.

There is also mechanical rotating brushes for cow comfort and cleanliness.

But while all this is in place for the cows, the farm has been doing much in the way of conservation.

A partnership with The Woodland Trust has seen more than 2,000 trees planted, including restoring an historic perry orchard and developing wetland woodland areas.

Conservation work

Environmental strips are encouraging wildlife activity - predominantly birds and insects. There is a Nectar Flower Mix; Winter Food Mix; and Legume and Herd Rich Swards.

Strategically selected hedgerows have been laid, to encourage development as a habitat for wildlife.

Meanwhile native breed sheep and cattle graze pastures, while Livestock Exclusion Zones have been implemented on scrub and successional areas

Fencing off of ponds and wet-lying areas has been focused around trees and owl and bat boxes have been installed in these areas.

And all this while 16-18 year olds and upwards get the chance to to gain practical experience on-farm, with more than 250 students each year, while the Run Open Farm Sunday event attracts around 3,000 visitors, to learn about UK Agriculture.

So that future generations can learn about conserving our natural habitats and wildlife while growing for the future.

The Farming Awards recognise best practice and acknowledge the creativity and dedication of people in the industry.

Entries close on September 18.

Categories are: Sheep Farmer Award; Farm Conservation; Cattle Farmer; Family Run Farm; Pig Farmer; Young Farmer (under 25); Poultry Farmer; Farming Hero; Arable Farmer; Farming Contractor; Fruit/Hop Farmer; Outstanding Achievement.

This year’s awards ceremony takes place in November in the form of a digital live broadcast and includes a star-studded array of celebrities hosting or dropping in with special messages.