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Updated 5th September'11 (Monitor Farm info below)


Stockton Riverside College
Prince’s Trust
Get into Dry Stone Walling
Lantra Award Level 1
Level 1 Course: Mon - Fri for 4 Weeks
The qualification is aimed at learners
who want to work in the countryside.
Students will gain a practical
understanding of the skills required in
dry stone walling; while improving their
interpersonal skills.
The course runs Monday, Wednesday,
Thursday & Friday (4 weeks)
9.00am Start – 4pm Finish.

UTASS ICT & LAND BASED TRAINING - Trailer Training is available in preparation for the B+E Trailer Test. Please contact UTASS for further details.

Our 8th annual BWMB 2 Day Shearing Course was held on 25th & 26th June 2011 and was attended by 12 trainees on both days. Thanks to Kath and Richard Iceton for providing excellent facilities and for making sure things ran smoothly. The high proportion of trainees attending for their second shearing course, with 5 of the UTASS Apprentices attending, was brilliant! Congratulations too, to those attending their first course on their perseverance and ultimate achievements. Thanks to the BWMB trainers, Richard and Bill for their enthusiasm and knowledge and also to Lantra LandSkills North East and UTASS for help with funding.

Sheep Dip Training & NPTC Assessments We have had quite a few enquiries for this again and hope to be able to access some funding to allow us to run this for a third year.

A special thank you to Sarah Peart and to all those who attended Group & Individual sessions for VAT & SpreadSheet Training or Basic Computer Training funded by Neighbourhood Learning for Deprived Communities held this Spring. Please contact us if you are interested in future courses.

MORE 13-16 LANTRA CERTIFICATED TRACTOR DRIVING - More tractor driving was held on 21st May and 25th June. Tractor driving training last year was very generously part funded by the Youth Opportunities Fund – administered by Durham County Council. We are delighted to have received a grant of £2,000 from the Hedley Foundation towards the cost of future tractor driving training for our young people. This full day’s course incorporated practical training, improving confidence and raising Health & Safety awareness. Grateful thanks to Terry Maw of Linda Bower Training for excellent training. We would also like to thank Middleton Mart and Harrison & Hetherington for the use of the Mart car park, Dennis and Paul for Mart access, Geoff Thorn from Carrs Billington for the loan of a tractor and two more of our members for the loan of equipment.

was also delivered by Deepdale Training during the February Half Term.


The latest meeting was a Satellite Meeting held at Whitehall Farm, Steel, Hexham where the Barren family welcomed almost 30 visitors to have a look at their South Devon cattle, which were grazing Red Start and also at their Triticale undersown with grass which was coming up to being harvested. Helen Mathieu of British Seed Houses gave the rationale behind the crops grown and answered questions.

On a glorious evening on 2nd August Richard Ward's grassland at Burn Foot and Folly Top was scrutinised by the Group with Liz Genever and Helen Mathieu attending. The Group was able to view a variety of pastures and Jennie Stafford of FWAG advised the Group on environmental and financial information.

On 19th July Debby Brown and Richard Ward gave an update of the last month on farm. Independent grassland expert, Charlie Morgan, highlighted areas to improve grass and James Bretherton, of Agscope, covered soil health and structure and its importance in improving grass quality.

On 29th June Ben Strugnell of Thirsk VLA reviewed the cobalt trial and he and Debby Brown generated lots of relevant ideas from those attending on the findings and how to move forward. Gillian Butler gave a presentation on Organic farming compared with conventional farming.

On a rather snowy, 21st February, the Satellite meeting at Bollihope Shield, Frosterley with Kate Phillips and Debby Brown, looked at improving ewe health and issues which might affect the ewe prior to lambing. Fortunately the 20+ who attended were indoors!

The meeting on 9th February at Kinninvie with Liz Genever generated lots of discussion on potential ways of maximising farm production, predominantly from grass.

The New Year brought opportunities for looking at outwintering cattle when the Group viewed two different farms with cattle being outwintered on kale and grass. This was held on 31st January - courtesy of Tony, Barbara & Patrick Wilson and Geoff and Sue Wilson.

A review Meeting was held on 22nd November 2010 was held at Marwood Social Centre when a review of progress took place, led by Debby Brown, with lots of input from those attending.

The meeting held on 21st October at Cragg Top covered Sustainable Control of Parasites - Principles in Action, with presentations by Debby Brown, Mike Taylor and Lesley Stubbings. Reviewing the parasite control stratetgy implemented over the last 3 years at the Monitor Farm, it explained the use of faecal egg counts, breeding for resistance and explored associated practical issues for future options.

Improving Cattle Health through Well Designed Housing event (4.10.10) with advice from Pfizer vet, William Sherrard was held at West Whorley Hill, by kind permission of Brian & Alan Medd and at Cragg Top, by kind permission of Richard & Beverley Ward.

Teesdale Monitor Group Satelite Meeting held on Tuesday 31st August 2010 at Bollihope Shield, Frosterley, by kind invitation of Graham & Sandra Wilkinson. This event was well attended and was a useful opportunity to view Ritchie and Shearwell EID equipment and to find out from an independent consultant, Lesley Stubbings about its potential management benefits. Debby Brown demonstrated practical ram MOTs and talked about identifying and treating Fluke in cattle and sheep.

The EBV event held on 10th August at Cragg Top featured breeding specialist, Sam Boon of Signet, who discussed the benefits of using EBVs to improve growth rates. Dr Gary Evans from Pfizer Genetics also explained the 'Genestar' testing which had been carried out on some of the cattle.

At the second event on 19th July over 70 attendees and focused on Trace Elements and Mineral Deficiencies. Kate Phillips of ADAS explained how using forage and soil analysis can highlight and improves deficiencies (in particular cobalt at Cragg Top).

After the successful launch event held at Cragg Top the Teesdale Monitor Farm of Richard and Beverley Ward on Friday, 11th June with its introduction to the farm, issues planned for change are being addressed. You can still get involved and watch the farm evolve throughout the three year period, and see the impact of a range of management decisions on the farm.


Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Sheep Dip - 17 candidates successfully completed this qualification with training held in UTASS, followed by the Gola and Dipperside assessments. Grateful thanks to Fred & Mick Stobart for providing the venue for the dipperside assessment and to Debby Brown and Richard Betton for the training, to the assessors and to Lantra LandSkills North East for the part funding.

More assessments will be held here early in July with the British Wool Marketing Board, for the NPTC Level 2 Certificates of Competence for the Transport of Animals by Road (for journeys over 65k (40 miles) and less than 8 hours).We have had a couple more new enquiries regarding this and hope very shortly to hold another assessment, which takes up to an hour, with the British Wool Marketing Board. Prior registration with the NPTC is a requirement and takes up to 2 weeks (by completion of a form). The cost of the assessment for Cattle & Sheep is £50.

Leap very kindly delivered free training at UTASS in 2010 for community members. This time it was an Introduction to Computers and Excel (with Numeracy) which has just been completed. Trainees have found this excellent and we would like to thank Sarah from Leap for her hard work. More of our members have come forward who do not have a computer for their own home use to take advantage of our laptop + printer loan scheme as a result of this training.

If you would like further information regarding any of the following training courses, which mostly are unfortunately only available to over 16s, please contact UTASS on 01833 641010 or e-mail

Trailer Training (preparation for Trailer Test); LGV Class 1 & 2; Pre-Test Tractor Driving (preparation for Tractor Test); ATV Training; Tractor Maintenance; NPTC Qualifications such as Cert of Competence in Sheep Dipping or Spraying; Grassland Management; Conservation, Restoration & Planting; Mole Trapping; Taster Dry Stone Walling or Lantra Level 1 or 2; BWMB Sheep Shearing (for June/July); Sheepdog.


Trailer Training - Grateful thanks to Lantra LandSkills North East for their funding so far and to Deepdale for delivering this “B + E” test training. Those who are interested and who are not already on the waiting list, please contact UTASS. Details of eligibility criteria appear on the Lantra's website mentioned below.

Lantra LandSkills North East continue to produce their monthly Newsletter, covering training courses delivered for the whole region. Some of these courses can be delivered locally, by UTASS, XL Vets or BWMB for instance, and all this information is available on their website

We welcome the opportunity to discuss any training requirements with you or make training enquiries on your behalf. Please contact us on 01833 641010 (closed Wednesdays) or by e-mail on

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