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Having grown up on a mixed farm in the Dorset countryside, Nicky has always had a passion for agriculture. Now on her placement journey from the University of Reading, she is currently working as a calf rearer on Buitelaar’s Development Farm in Somerset.

Read Nicky’s experience so far below:

A typical day at the farm starts at 7am, milk feeding the younger calves, filling up the feeders and health checking. At this point, the other members of the team will be bedding up, feeding the older cattle with a blend mix and health checking too. Health checking is done twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Afterwards, we complete any tasks that are required such as cleaning and disinfecting sheds, weighing, vaccinating, or dehorning and helping with TB testing. By the time 3PM rolls around, we begin to feed the younger calves again – and they’re definitely ready for it!


It's been really enjoyable working with a young, fun team and learning how the Buitelaar calf system works. I have learnt various skills including the processes required to produce calves to a high standard and the strict management protocols needed to maintain higher animal welfare. The placement has given me a lot of responsibility, which has ultimately improved my stockmanship skills too.

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I’ve loved to see the journey of the calves from the moment they arrive on farm, to the moment they leave. I've gained a lot of satisfaction from seeing the calves that I’ve helped rear, thrive. It’s a great moment to see them load onto the lorry looking strong, well-fleshed and healthy, ready for their new home.

I'd recommend an opportunity like this to anyone thinking about gaining some valuable work experience on the Development Farm. I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of an experienced and knowledgeable team. Not only have I learnt a huge amount, I have made friends for life too!


'The Blueprint of best practice'

Acquired in 2019, the Development Farm is a state-of-the-art professional rearing unit, with a controlled and transparent environment enabling continuous R&D in the name of advancement of farming.

Coupled with a team of experienced and dedicated rearing staff and working closely alongside our veterinary partners, the Development Farm poses huge opportunity for a young, ambitious individual wanting to progress in their career.

Have you considered a summer placement?

With a variety of opportunities available for you, including placements, work experience and our popular Graduate Schemes get in touch to find out more now.