Young Farmers profiles: Andrew Colman

EDP Young Farmers profile: Andrew Colman from David Colman Engineering at Edwin Farm, Sporle. Pictur

EDP Young Farmers profile: Andrew Colman from David Colman Engineering at Edwin Farm, Sporle. Picture: Matthew Usher.

As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club (YFC) members, agricultural engineer ANDREW COLMAN explains how his role in the family business evolves during the harvest season.

I have worked for David Colman Engineering (DCE) since I left school at 16, going on to do a four-year apprenticeship in agricultural engineering.

My typical day starts at 8am, which is a bit of a luxury. However, when we have a heavier workload with our contracting work, when I'm ploughing and carting maize, I find myself starting at 6am and will work as late as needed.

As we're now coming into harvest I will be driving my tractor and baler for as many hours of the day as I can and that will hopefully see around 10,000 bales made throughout the season. This means I have no real role in the engineering business at this time of the year. Most of our ploughing and tillage work will fall into the end of harvest and the lead-up to the start of maize.

I don't come back onto the engineering side until the start of December. The jobs range from regular service work on tractors and telehandlers to pre-season overhauls on machinery such as onion lifters, vegetable graders, and balers. I often attend all sorts of breakdowns. These can be tractors or machinery and can be any part of the machine; in this case, I have to diagnose the fault and come up with the solution and repair the problem. In slower times over winter we also take on the production of gates and railings.

This week I had hoped I'd be able to get on with doing my own hay crop but, due to the unpredictable weather, I have left it standing and have been finishing off the pre-season overhaul on one of our balers. I hope in a few weeks' time the weather will come right and we can all get stuck into harvest 2016 which will see me back doing long hours sat in my tractor. There is no job or time of year I love more.

I got my love for farming from growing up on a small family mixed farm in Sporle. I was always around machinery and cattle. I was taught many of my skills by my grandfather, from being sat beside him for many an hour in the tractor cab doing various jobs on the land.

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When learning to take care of young calves, I can remember trying endlessly to get them to drink out of a bottle then teaching them to drink out of a bucket but my love of farming has remained firmly with the machinery side. I'd like to think that in the next five years we can continue to expand the contracting business so that I can spend more time with that.

Within the next year I hope to gain my Level 3 agricultural engineering certificate. I hope to gain my trailer test certificate this coming year with some funding towards the cost of it from the Skills Initiative Fund available to me through Young Farmers. Being a member of Young Farmers has also give me the opportunity to meet so many people, and make new friends through the club competitions and socials.


Name: Andrew Colman

Age: 19

Occupation: Agricultural engineer and operator

Location: David Colman Engineering, Sporle

YFC Club: Swaffham

How long have you been a YFC member: 1 year, since the launch of the club

Swaffham YFC meets at Swaffham Rugby Club on Wednesday evenings. For more information, contact the county office on 01603 731307.

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