A large congregation filled St Andrew's Church, Ashburton, for Farm Crisis Network Devon's annual Plough Service, which was led by the vicar, the Rev David Sherwood. The Retallick family of Ilsington brought a recently restored 50-year-old plough and presented it during the service. Blessings of the plough, soil and seed followed. The Rev David Ursell preached the sermon using a visual aid depicting the tiny proportion of the Earth's surface from which the world population is fed.
Dairy Spares has launched a new Milk-Kart on wheels which allows calf feeders to be filled quickly and easily. It provides the required ration of milk using a pump dispenser with flow meter, thereby enabling accurate feeding. The Milk-Kart can transport up to 125 litres of milk, and has an insulated tank which maintains the milk temperature. It costs £2,395 plus VAT. For more information phone 01948 667676.
NFU Mutual is once again offering its Centenary Award for postgraduate students in agriculture. The award will give annual bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected students who are starting a postgraduate course (Masters or PhD) in Autumn 2013. The Centenary Award was first launched by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust in 2010 to celebrate its 100th birthday. It is now in its fourth year, and already 17 students from across the UK have benefited from bursary payments to help fund their studies. The closing date for applications is April 30.
A project to improve South Molton's livestock market is now complete. In October the owners, North Devon Council, began work to repaint the market, replace its roof and improve disabled access. The market remained open throughout the project to minimise disruption to business. Improvements to the livestock market began two years ago, when the old asbestos penning shed was replaced. This second phase of work included further removal of asbestos, replacing the roof and cladding, installing a new disabled lavatory and improving disabled access to the main sales ring. The council also took the opportunity to update the electrics and hot-water system.