A new, one-day course teaching the basics of how to care for, house and feed a calf is one of many short livestock programmes now offered by the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

The innovative calf rearing course at the University’s Rural Innovation Centre in Cirencester costs £130, is led by experts and will earn participants a UK Rural Skills (UKRS) certificate of attendance.

Professionals and students completing the course at Harnhill in September will be taught how to care for calves from birth to 12 weeks old.

Calf rearing training will include:

  • Preparing calf accommodation and feeding plans;
  • Monitoring health;
  • Understanding colostrum management;
  • Weaning; and
  • Learning routine procedures.

Another course on offer is Cow Signals, a simple approach to reducing disease and prolonging the lifetime of cattle, developed in the Netherlands.

Other sessions help prepare for Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) examinations, give training on administering medicines and vaccinations, teach techniques for recognizing lameness in livestock and for the artificial insemination of cattle.

The sessions are not just aimed at farmers but also feed, breeding and barn design consultants, vets, students and anyone with an interest in livestock.

Improving practical skills

Navaratnam Partheeban, senior lecturer in Livestock Production at the RAU said: “The livestock sector is the largest agricultural sector in the UK producing the top four farming products in this country.

“The idea behind these courses was to make sure our University was meeting industry needs and demand from professionals and students of all kinds for livestock skills.

The programmes have all been developed and designed to allow the participant to get the most up-to-date information and learn modern techniques in livestock.”

All courses are externally accredited and many carry awards on completion such as AMTRA SQP qualifications, UKRS certification and bovine mobility register inclusion.

The University already provides a range of professional rural training courses for the public and private sector, including Natural England, the Wildlife Trust, local councils, schools, and agronomy companies.

RAU has been at the forefront of agricultural education and a key contributor to the land-based sector for more than 170 years.

The university has more than 1,200 students studying agriculture, animal science, business, environment, equine science, farm management, food, real estate and rural land management.