Women get hands-on machinery training

Women in Arable members went on farm last week to get some farm machinery hands-on training.

About 20 members with varying levels of expertise took to tractors and ATVs to get some experience of farm machinery at the property of Carolyn and Donald Williamson, at Coniston on the outskirts of Ashburton.

They covered ATV training and handling, tractor driving and safety, backing machinery and lifting with forks under the instruction of staff from Honda Country Ashburton (with the TRX420 ATVs) and Power Farming (with a 140hp tractor with bucket, a 165hp tractor with Qualidisc cultivator and a 170hp telehandler that had a 7m reach and could lift four tonnes).

FAR organisers Anna Heslop and Lucy McPherson said as the final event for the year for the women’s group, it was a fun, hands-on training session which was followed by lunch in the picturesque grounds of Coniston gardens.

"The end of year is always fun, but this time it’s also about confidence around machinery.

"It’s sometimes easier to learn about this stuff away from home," Mrs Heslop said.

The ATV models were like farm workhorses used on most farms and the large tractors featured some of the top-of-the-range electronics straight from Europe.

The women where encouraged to ask questions of the instructors, which allowed them to operate the equipment with confidence.

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