Twenty-four year old farmer’s daughter Melanie Jenkins from Monmouthshire is the 2015 winner of the annual British Guild of Agricultural Journalists Training Award, sponsored by John Deere Limited. This year's runner-up is agronomist Sam Deane, also 24, from Co Cork in Ireland.Melanie gained a BA in English Literature from the University of Reading, where she introduced an agricultural column to the university newspaper. She completed two spells of work experience last year at Farmers Weekly, and has been working for the Devon-based agricultural media service Agri-hub run by BGAJ member and freelance Olivia Cooper since the summer. Melanie is also a member of the Guild.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and met some really great people; it has been such a good experience to have so early in my career,” says Melanie. “I will certainly be recommending it to anyone who says they are interested in this field.”Melanie won the award for her article ‘Dairy leaders to hold fresh talks with Morrisons’, which was published by Farmers Weekly. Sam Deane’s article ‘OSR emerges into a blitz of disease’ was written for his work experience host magazine CPM. Sam has since joined leading specialist arable merchant Premium Crops Ltd in Hampshire.
This year’s entries were once again judged by specialist training consultant and main course lecturer David Mascord and freelance Louise Impey, the Guild’s Awards Secretary. Melanie received her winner’s cheque for £250, a framed certificate and the John Deere trophy at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch at The Stationers’ Hall in London in October, where Sam was also presented with his runner's-up framed certificate and a cheque for £100.The 2015 course took place as usual at John Deere Limited's UK headquarters in July. For the final award, the 10 course members and three non-award trainees were asked to write a news story on the subject of their choice, preferably based on work completed during their work experience placement.
This year's work experience hosts were Agri-hub, CPM, Farmers Guardian, Farmers Guide, Farmers Weekly, LEAF, pitchcare, Ware Anthony Rust and the Western Morning News. Other course participants included Guild members Laura Bowyer and Alice Singleton of Farmers Guardian, freelance Tracy Wathen-Jones, and Rosie Hopkins and Sophie Wilesmith of Pinstone Communications.This was the 23rd John Deere Training Award, which started in 1991. The course is based on two days of lectures on the basics of writing news and features and interviewing techniques, followed by three or more days of practical work experience with a range of farming and horticultural journals or communications businesses.John Deere Training Award is designed to support the Guild in one of its principal aims - that of promoting schemes for the provision of suitable entrants into agricultural and horticultural journalism. Since it began, more than 30 course members have found employment as journalists on national farming and horticultural magazines or websites and with specialist PR companies (not including those already employed when they attended the course).For further details of the 2016 course, please contact Steve Mitchell of ASM Public Relations Ltd – telephone 01926 812210 or 07717 213182, or e-mail email@example.com.
John Deere’s flagship 9620RX tractor and 8800i self-propelled forage harvester, range-topping 6155R tractor, PowrSpray solution system for R900i Series trailed sprayers and both entry level W-Series and redesigned T-Series combine harvesters are among the new machines for 2016 being featured for the first time on the John Deere stand at LAMMA in January, following their initial European launch at Agritechnica.In addition, the latest FarmSight precision farming developments on show include the MyJobsConnect job management tool and the prototype John Deere Manure Sensing system, which is based on the same HarvestLab near-infrared (NIR) sensor technology used on the 8000 Series foragers.The new four-track 9620RX tractor had a starring role in the 2015 Lord Mayor’s Show in London in November, in support of the Worshipful Company of Farmers modern livery company and the NFU’s Back British Farming campaign.It was driven in the parade behind a fully restored John Deere 4020 tractor from the 1960s, to help illustrate technological progress in agriculture and to mark 50 years of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland – the company started trading from its present day site at Langar, near Nottingham, in January 1966. The 4020, nicknamed BEV after its original registration plate, will also be featured alongside the 9620RX on the company’s stand at LAMMA.The new mid-size 6R Series tractors, including the 6155R, feature the latest Stage IV engines rated from 110 to 155hp, improved manoeuvrability, enhanced operator comfort and a wide range of transmission options. John Deere’s intelligent power management system (IPM) provides a 20 to 30hp boost on the four-cylinder models and 40hp on the six-cylinder versions.These tractors feature CommandARM controls and a Generation 4 CommandCenter touch screen monitor with swipe function display, while the redesigned TLS+ front axle suspension offers improved steering and driving on the road. An electrical loader-ready joystick is also available for use with John Deere’s latest R Series front loaders, which feature new mounting frames and hood guards and are easy to attach and operate.PowrSpray is the company’s latest innovative development in crop care technology, and features two hydraulically-driven centrifugal pumps. The first fills the sprayer at up to 1200 litres/min, while the second, a 1000 litre/min spraying pump, has Direct Rate Control for fast changes of application rate and the highest spraying accuracy.The self-priming, low pressure filling pump fills the sprayer rapidly even with the tractor engine at idle, thus reducing fuel use and noise during the filling process. In addition, Direct Rate Control of the spraying pump is able to adjust between minimum and maximum output in less than three seconds, increasing rate control accuracy to a level that conventional systems cannot match, particularly for variable rate applications.John Deere’s new T-Series combines have undergone a comprehensive redesign for the 2016 harvest. Many components have been changed to achieve the best straw walker combine performance possible, enabling operators to achieve an increase in output of up to 15 per cent.The result of this redesign is a number of leading features in this class of combine, including the largest active separation area on the market and a larger cleaning shoe area; the fastest unloading rate and crop conversion; exclusive 40kph top speed and tracks; increased precision farming benefits with ConnectedCombine and MyJohnDeere.com; and more power from the new Stage IV engines.A short video produced by the NFU of the John Deere 9620RX and 4020 tractors in the Lord Mayor’s Show parade can be found at the following link: http://on.fb.me/21csdDi
John Deere Limited is sad to announce that Douglas M Walker, the company’s longest serving managing director from 1968 to 1993, has died at the age of 87, on Sunday 8 November. The funeral was held in Nottinghamshire on Wednesday 18 November at Bramcote Crematorium.A graduate of the Edinburgh School of Agriculture, Doug Walker was a key figure in John Deere Limited’s establishment and growth in the UK and Ireland after the company started trading from its present day headquarters at Langar, near Nottingham, in January 1966. The 25 years under his leadership saw the development of a strong, dedicated dealer organisation and prominent market position for the business.He became John Deere Limited’s first employee as territory manager for Scotland and after three months became the company’s first sales manager. He was appointed managing director in October 1968, a position he held until his retirement 25 years later on 4 February 1993, after 27 years of service with the company. During that period the business grew from a turnover of £3 million to £120 million and the agricultural dealer organisation expanded from 11 to 132 outlets.Doug Walker also oversaw the introduction of high horsepower tractors into the UK market in the late 1960s, when the average farm tractor was in the 50hp class; the John Deere product range in 1966 included the classic 91hp 4020, the first tractor to appear on the UK market with a powershift transmission. In recognition of this contribution to increased farm efficiency and lower costs, he was appointed an associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies in 1992.Among a host of industry achievements and trade related posts held at various times during his career (see below), Doug Walker was a past president of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), served twice as president of the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) in the 1970s and 1980s, was chairman of the Royal Smithfield Show Joint Committee and president of the Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund (BEN), the charity for those who work in the automotive and related industries.Doug Walker was born on 4 February 1928 to James and Alice Walker (née Barton) in Edinburgh, where his father owned a haberdashery shop. He was educated at the George Heriot School in Edinburgh before gaining his NDA at the Edinburgh School of Agriculture. He originally wanted to be either a vet or a farmer, but ended up developing an interest in agricultural machinery. For a short while after graduating he lectured in the subject at the then Lancashire Farm Institute, where he set up the machinery department.Two years later, on getting married (to Helen) on 18 August 1951, he moved to the relatively new Shuttleworth College in Bedfordshire, again as its first agricultural engineering lecturer in the new department that he also established. Three years later he moved to David Brown Tractors, initially as chief instructor. After seven years of moving through many departments, including sales promotion, he finished as assistant export sales manager before taking up his first appointment at John Deere Limited.“I had the privilege to work with Doug Walker in various roles from 1975 until his retirement in 1993, reporting directly to him for much of that time,” says current John Deere Limited managing director Antony Scott. “He was a strong business leader, with the skill and determination to take John Deere from the position of a new market entrant to market leadership during his tenure as managing director.“He was highly respected in the industry, taught me a great deal over the years and will leave a strong and lasting legacy. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and former colleagues alike.”Doug’s hobbies included travel, photography and walking. He is survived by a brother, Barton, three children - Morag, Ian and Duncan - four grandchildren and six great grandchildren; his wife Helen predeceased him. Doug Walker – industry achievements:
Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers
Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry
Fellow of the British Institute of Management Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing
President of Agricultural Engineers Association (1975-1976 & 1988-1989)
President of Sandringham Association of Royal Warrant Holders (1987-1988)
Chairman of the Royal Smithfield Show Joint Committee (1987-1988) First Honorary Fellow of Shuttleworth College (July 1989)
President of the Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund (1989-1991), also Board Member President of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (1990-1992), also IAgrE member 1950-2011
Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies
Freeman of the City of London
Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farmers
Member of the Court of Cranfield College of Technology Trustee of The Douglas Bomford Trust