CUT Agri Training Centre up and running
Agriculture constitutes the biggest segment of economic activities in the Free State Province and plays an important role in terms of job creation, especially in rural areas, but is also a foremost earner of foreign exchange.
CUT officially opened its farm on 11 April to the first-year students who attended their practical sessions on a farm for the first time. This facility is more than just a farm; it is a training centre intended to provide academic support and research to the university; unlock the full potential of students; and equip them with skills in agriculture through practical learning and demonstrations.
The official opening was sponsored by Greenforce to the value of R40 000 and Telwierdre Voer, a long-term partner, sponsored the training ground for students.
During the practical session, the students folded their sleeves and got their hands dirty, as they learnt about different types of additional pastures used for dairy cattle feed and sheep during dry seasons. They also experimented on how to operate a tractor, safety measures when handling farm equipment, handling livestock and vaccination, administering chemicals, Identification of grasses, soil sampling and tomato production. Different cultivations will be done on the farm which will form part of real-world for the agricultural students. They were afforded an opportunity to touch and feel all that they have learnt in class.
“I am extremely happy to come to our farm and see all these interesting things. I enjoy Agricultural Science so much that I follow documentaries about women in agriculture and I want to encourage my peers to see it with that eye as they still believe it is a man’s world. This day will remain memorable for as long as I’m in this field. It has made me fall in love with my career all over again, and I am proud of my choice. My life is all about outdoor, and I would like to pursue my career further in crop farming, as I love the soil and the magic it does to produce food for the world. I am craving for more knowledge,” said Mathapelo Mautswa, first-year student from Botshabelo.
Karabo Seepamore said that her first-time experience was scary, but exciting and enlightening. “This experience was exciting and a bit scary. What we did in class became clear during the practical session. I have learnt a lot; especially in the tomato production. I come from an agricultural background in Thaba Nchu and believe that through agriculture I will be able to contribute positively to the development of my community. I have always wanted to be a soil specialist and teach my community about the value of soil. Soil is just as important as plants and animals. Plants grow, and millions of people and animals are fed. I believe choosing agriculture was not a mistake but a calling.”
She said that she always wanted to be a soil specialist and teach about the value of soil.
In August 2017, the Department of Agriculture acquired a brand new wet clutch 4X4 John Deere 5075E Cab tractor as one of the essential components of a well-run training establishment in Bainsvlei. The farm is located 29KM from Bloemfontein with 32 ha of cultivable lands and 1.5ha of natural pastures. It is surrounded by active commercial farms, which will be beneficial to the department. The farm will acquire additional livestock such as lamb, broiler chicks, as well as an array of organically grown produce such as watermelons, cabbage, pumpkins, dryland maize and sunflowers, and other melons.
CUT is committed to student development to prepare them with the much-needed experience in their chosen fields, ultimately assisting them with the transition to the workplace. Along with research conducted on the farm, practical classes and work-integrated learning will have a high educational and intrinsic value for the students.
1: Prof. Pieter Fourie, Head of the Department of Agriculture at CUT, demonstrated how to vaccinate and de-worm animals. He also taught them how to administer other chemicals used on the farm. Students got the chance to touch, feel and experience what they have learned in class.
2: Mathapelo Mautswa, an aspired crop farmer from Botshabelo, is proud about her career choice and would like to be an inspiration to her peers. She is seen here tasting the sugar grain stalk at the practical session on additional pastures.
3: Karabo Seepamore, an aspired soil specialist, had a bite of tomato during the farm tour. Karabo is from Thaba-Nchu and believes that her acquired knowledge and skills will help uplift her community.
4: At the farm, students learned about additional pastures like sugar grains that are used for dairy cattle and sheep feed during the winter season. They were also able to bite some stalks to taste.
For more images go to CUT Facebook page album
Uploaded: 13 April 2018