Old Hall Field Sumo Subsoiler Demonstration

Earlier this month our Agriculture Department received a machinery demonstration from SUMO UK Ltd. Richard Hales, sales manager for Sumo, brought the machinery on-site for a demonstration and to start a trial on one of our fields.

Staff and final year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture students were involved in the machinery demonstration. As well as being able to see what the machinery is capable of, the demonstration linked in with the grassland module our students are currently completing.

Anthony Jones from Agriculture, along with Farm Manager Mark Yearsley, have teamed up with Richard Hales from SUMO to organise this grassland trial. The trial will investigate the possibility of more consistent grass growth, extended grazing season and reduced chemical fertiliser costs as well as better soil health and structure.

The trial is expected to lead on to further research of the improvements that the subsoil machine can bring to the grazing grassland at Reaseheath.

The field was split into three areas. The first strip has been treated with the subsoil machine provided by SUMO at a depth of 8 inches. The middle strip was left untreated. The final strip, at the far end of the field, was aerated to a depth of 4 inches by first year Level 3 Extended Diploma students on one of their practicals. This enable staff and students to compare and contrast the different treatments available to existing swards.

This research will be ongoing in Field 7 over at Old Hall and will be repeated in the autumn through to next spring 2015.

The public will in fact be part of this trial as in May Field 7 will be used as a car park for our annual Family Festival. This will put pressure on the field and compact it. Following the Family Festival the recovery of the field will be monitored and hopefully the area which has been treated with the SUMO machine will hold up to compaction the best.


International recognition for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre has become the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve an internationally recognised British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification.

The £7million Food Centre, which is on the Nantwich, Cheshire, college’s campus, has been awarded a Grade A BRC, the highest possible quality mark within the food industry’s global standard for food safety.

The unique certification was approved after a robust two day audit showed that the department’s food manufacturing systems were operating under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included hygiene procedures, cleanliness of the facility, food safety controls, quality systems and the traceability of food ingredients.

The accolade is particularly prestigious as many food businesses strive, but never achieve, the elusive BRC standard at Grade A. The successful bid was led by Reaseheath Technical Manager Katharina Vogt.

Food Centre Head Toni-Anne Harrison said: “This was a tremendous achievement, gained through hard work and dedication and by an understanding of how these procedures and practices underpin everything that we do in the Food Centre.

“I am extremely proud to head up such a fantastic team, where individuals from both the commercial and educational worlds work so tirelessly together to move the department forwards.

Our students are now fully immersed in industry standards and practices, and understand the value that is placed on ensuring these standards are both maintained and continuously moved forwards.

“This certification will lead to increased exposure to  blue chip companies, many of which are already clients and partners, and this will create enormous opportunities for our students. It will also further strengthen Reaseheath College’s reputation for being at the forefront of teaching and learning within the food sector.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added : “This has been a tremendous achievement, as only the very best companies achieve BRC Grade A status. This certification proves that our Food Centre has a deep understanding of the industry it serves. It will bring the department tremendous credence and will heighten our standing within the food industry.”

Reaseheath’s Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to the exacting standards required by industry and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the facilities include dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the bespoke food halls for new product development or staff training.

For further details see or contact (training enquiries) Julie Bent E: or (commercial enquiries) Katherine Tunnicliffe E:

Videos kick off careers in racing

Videos promoting the diverse and exciting careers in the horse racing industry have been released by The Cheshire Racing Hub.

The Racing Hub was launched last year with the aim of highlighting to young people the racing careers available to them in Cheshire. Reaseheath College is an education partner, along with the University of Chester and the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. The initiative is funded by the British Horse Racing Authority and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The six videos focus on inspiring young people who are already working in the industry and turn the spotlight on careers in equine veterinary medicine, training, breeding and sales, work riding, barn management and racecourse personnel.  An introductory video features recently retired footballer Michael Owen, who is a local racehorse owner and racing enthusiast.

The videos can be viewed on Cheshire Racing Hub’s YouTube channel and official website.  They were made by Equine Productions, which produces bespoke videos for the racing and equestrian industries.

A successful preview of the videos was held at Bishop Heber High School, Malpas, earlier this month, accompanied by a talk by local point-to-point trainer Oliver Greenall, who described his role and his racing experiences.

Over 10 students expressed an interest in finding out more about careers in racing and a behind-the-scenes taster day for these students will be scheduled to give them a real insight into the industry.

With strong initial interest following this pilot, the Racing Hub is now looking at rolling out a similar programme across selected schools in Cheshire.

Racing Hub Chair Kay Kent said: “We are delighted to have produced some really informative and lively videos which relate and talk to young people about careers in racing and will live long into the future through Careers in Racing.  We look forward to taking Bishop Heber students on their next steps to finding out more about the exciting careers in Cheshire.”

Reaseheath food students impress with tasty meals for children

Food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, have impressed industry experts by developing a range of tasty and healthy children’s meals for the supermarket shelf.

Eleven students in the final year of their Foundation Degree in Food Industry with Management were tasked with developing chilled ready meals suitable for a new Tesco range.

The students had to follow a complex brief following strict retail industry standards which included carrying out research into nutrition, portion sizes, costing and package design. They then prepared their dish and delivered a product presentation before a panel of food industry experts.

The judging panel was headed by Tesco Product Development Manager Stephanie Bacon and included new product development specialists from the Greencore Group, which produces and supplies ready meals for the retailer.

Dishes which particularly caught the eye of the judges included a chicken dinner made by Dina Silva, a sausage and baked bean casserole produced by Alex Mangnall and a sweet chicken curry from Nazreen Dwada.

Said Stephanie Bacon: “It has been very interesting to touch base with the young talent coming into the industry.  Tesco has always been keen to give something back by helping to guide and advise the next generation of food technologists. We are also constantly developing our own food ranges and are particularly interested in innovative dishes for children which are high in nutrition but low in the less desirable ingredients such as fat and salt.

“We were very impressed by the thought and effort which the students had put into this project. The overall standard of the products was excellent and every student brought a meal into the room which was healthy and flavourful.”

The students researched and prepared their products in the industry standard food halls which are part of Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre, one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

The project was organised by Lecturer in New Product Design Jayne Storer, working in conjunction with Tesco and Greencore. She explained: “This was a true test of the students’ initiative because it was the first time they had worked to a live brief. It was extremely industry focused and realistic, replicating exactly what they will need to do in their future careers.”

Said Alex Mangnall, 19: “This was a really interesting project which gave us a real life experience of the food industry and will be really useful for our CVs.”