On Tuesday, 28th of January the first year, higher level pig breeding management course students visited the Can Vilà farm, owned by Granges Buadas. It holds 1400 sows and is located in Sant Andreu Salou. On the visit we were able to revise all the concepts present in the pig breeding study plan. We would like to thank the Buadas Artau family, and their technicians Pau and Abel, for the advice they gave us on the day.
On Thursday 30th January the first year, higher level Forestry management students went to see the facilities of the Grans del Lluçanès company in Sant Martí d'Albars. They learnt all about the the process of obtaining biomass in pellet form. This actually makes use of the waste produced by wood cutting appliances and the resulting pellets are packed into 15 kilo bags and sold whole-sale. They also discovered how the product is controlled in terms of quality. The students therefore saw how to make use of a bi-product of woodcutting that is a sustainable and cheap source of energy.
On Friday the 24th of January the medium level Forestry students were able to visit the Oak, Chestnut and Holm Oak trees of the Montseny forest area. An ex student, Albert Bosch, who works for the ´Consorci de la Propietat Forestal` organisation, was kind enough to be our guide on the visit. At present he is responsible for the management and assessment of the Montseny area. He told us about the advantages and disadvantages of being a protected zone and how to control and manage infections in Holm Oaks. We were also able to see the effects of other tree infections and the problems caused by wasps in Chestnut trees, the last of which was only detected two years ago. It also proved a good opportunity to see at first-hand the management process involved in looking after Douglas Pines, Cork Oaks and Pine trees in general.
As happens every year, we recently had the pleasure of taking the Accés de Grau Superior group on a trip to London. This year's stay in the capital was a great success: four enjoyable days meticulously planned by the school's English department. Among the highlights of the trip were visits to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Natural History Museum and Camden Market, as well as a boat trip on the river Thames. The students were able to practise their English and learnt how to get around a large city independently. Over the four days we were lucky enough to try specialities such as an English Breakfast, an Indian curry and a pint in a traditional English pub. All in all, a fascinating visit!
Recently we visited Mas El Garet in Tona with the medium level, second year pig breeding students. Ex Quintanes student, Lluïs Mauri welcomed us and told us all about running a goat milk producing farm. We were also able to see the farm's cheese-producing facilities that Lluïs and his partner Isidre Mas had built a few years ago so they could provide another product to the already popular milk obtained from their Murcian-Granadine breed of goats. The Mas El Garet cheeses have received various prizes; the most important of which was the silver medal for their ´pebre negre d'arcoc` cheese in the conventional, soft cheese catagory. See the following website for more information; http://www.maselgaret.com/
On Thursday, 23rd January the first year, medium-level gardening and florist students visited the above-mentioned business in Rubí. The visit was connected to the study plan of the personal management process that our students undertake. Mr Jordi Peiró, from the company's administration department, told us how they dealt with their 35 workers in terms of economic and labour administration management. He also gave us tips on how to find a job, the best way to create an effective CV and how to go about presenting yourself. All in all, it was a very useful and positive visit for our students.
During the first fortnight of 2014 we visited Ca l'Alzina farm with the medium-level, second year students from the pig breeding course. Ca l'Alzina is a sheep farm located in Santa Agnès de Malenyana. It is a family business that was founded 32 years ago with cows. Over the years the family converted the business to one of sheep farming. They started with only 40 such animals but now have 850 ewes, 25 rams and 75 lambs, all of them belonging to the Ripolles breed.
Joan, the father, and Josep, his son and an ex student of Quintanes, explained to us about the process they use to produce the highest quality of animals. We would like to thank the whole family for welcoming us and giving our students such a positive experience. This also applies to their explanations of the techniques they use, their collaboration in end of year tribunals and for overseeing some of our students` work experience.
From the 20th of January onwards two training courses at Quintanes will take place: forestry technic and ecological agriculture. These courses are part of the ´Servei d'Ocupació de Catalunya` programme and take place in coordination with the ´Fundació Mil•lenari`.
During the last fortnight of the year the first year, medium level pig breeding students visited the milk producing cow farm at Mas El Puig. Mr Pere Font, a former student of Quintanes, welcomed us and explained in detail the process involved in producing a litre of milk; everything from what the cows are fed to how they are milked two times a day in a rotative hall. It is important to note the interest the Font family have taken in helping our students, something clearly shown during the visit, in the explanations given by them and in their collaboration on the artificial insemination course held each year at the school.
In line with the study plan of the mechanisation class the first year, higher-level pig breeding course visited the plant protection machinery factory mentioned in the title above. It is, in fact, located in the city of Lleida, in the west of Catalonia. There the students were able to see a variety of machines and each one's characteristics and functions. Later the class moved on to Calaf, further south, where they visited the sowing machine factory run by the Solà company. On site students saw close-up the different types of machines produced there, including mechanical ones, as well as tyres, the process used to produce the machines, their characteristics and functions.
The second-year, medium-level forestry students recently made a study visit to Molló Park. There they were able to see a wide range of fauna whose habitats lie in the Pyrenees mountains. There were animals to see such as brown bears, lynxes, wolves, vultures and eagles. The visit was a guided one and the students were able to learn about the characteristics and habitats of the different animals on display. Before finishing the owner, Mr Toni, told the group how the park was founded and how it is run.
The first year, medium-level gardening students were lucky enough recently to visit Barcelona's botanical gardens in Montjuic with Ivan and Jordi as accompanying teachers. The garden offers a great variety of Mediterranean climate plants from places like Chile, California, South Africa and Southern Europe. It also offers students the chance to see different types of design and landscaping, how the garden is organised and the materials used to look after it. Students were made aware of the fact that it is a beautiful but still young garden which will be even prettier 50 years from now.
It is also worth noting that the garden is home to two Downy Oaks and a Holm Oak given to it by Quintanes and which were cultivated on the grounds owned by the school.
The Costa and Llobera gardens offer the visitor a great collection of cacti, crasses and palm trees from around the world, donated in the most part by collectors in the 20th century to the maritime facade of Montjuic mountain.
It presented us with a fantastic opportunity to hold an open-air botany class for our students!
On the 28th of November the second-year, medium-level Forestry students visited the company, ADF Montseny Ponent. Their president and also mayor of El Brull, Mr Ferran Teixidó, gave a talk about ADFs; what they consist of, materials used, vehicles etc... Then he explained about the workings of the forestry bio-mass energy project that El Brull is running. To finish students saw first-hand the bio-mass heater that is at the heart of the project and learned how it worked. It was a very didactic visit, focusing on whether or not bio-mass will be the future of forestry.
On Thursday 21st of November the first-year, superior level Forestry students visited AMP Sprayers; a company that makes plant protection treatment machines. On the visit they were able to see the different ways the machines work, their various parts and how they function. The group then moved on to the more commerce-orientated plant protection company; AgroSalvi, where they found out about the requirements demanded of the products they produce and the key parts of tree injection treatment.
On the 29th November the second-year, superior-level farming students attended the ´Biomass Heaters for the farming sector` technical day. The aim of the get-together was to provide information about the possibilities provided by renewable bio fuel. The seminar was given by Mrs Mireia Codina, technician of Forestry Use and Biomass at the Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya (CTFC). Mrs Codina spoke about the benefits of using bio fuel when applied to the environment, transport and biomass administration (e.g. various systems of distribution, food etc...). Examples of its use by businesses, farms, greenhouses and buildings in the sector were given.
At Quintanes the course trips form an integral part of the success of each course. They allow students to really understand the subjects worked on and areas studied over the two years. They also enable students to get to know each other and form friendships.
In the first week of October the first year, medium level gardening students went on their course trip to the Cote d'Azur in France. Over the seven days there we visited 8 gardens and protected zones with the aim of seeing the typical features of Mediterranean gardens, designs, plant recognition, growth techniques and maintanance of green spaces. We visited the following places; “La Banbouseraie” in Domaine de Prafrance, the botanic garden “Hanbury” in Ventimiglia, the medieval garden “Sainte Agnès” in Menton, the protected green area of “Domaine du Rayol”, the gardens at “Villa Ephursi de Rotschield” in St Jean Cap Ferrat, the Japanese garden in Monaco and “La Fontaine” garden at Nimes.
On the 20th November the first year, medium-level farming students went to visit a couple of horticultural businesses as part of their study plan schedule. On the visit they were able to see first-hand the production and commerce management of the Casa Ametller company. The students first visited a farm in Argentona, which grows lettuce, then moved on to Llavaneres where they visited various greenhouses used to grow tomatoes. It was a very enriching day in which everyone was able to compare the different visions applied to agrarian produce. At the very end all the students posed for a group photo. Lovely!
On Thursday, 14th of November the first year gardening students went on a series of visits to see first-hand the different types of machinery used in the world of gardening. First we went to see Honda Greens in La Garriga, where Mr Pedro Sillero, technician for the company, showed us different models made by brands like Honda, Echo and Silky, explaining the details of each. Then, in the afternoon, we went on to visit the Outils Wolf company in Sant Feliu de Buixalleu, where we saw and tried some of their machines, and also used different lawn mowers and etesia-type trimmers. The school would like to thank all the people who hosted us and helped in our students` learning on the day. Best wishes.
Nearly seven years ago we made our first course trip to Aragon. This year we've continued the annual tradition and gone their with the first year, superior level farming students. On the way there we stopped to visit the Sant Josep farm, which specializes in producing milk. Once in Ejea and settled at the ´El Bolaso` camp site we started on the programme of visits we had planned. All the people and companies that hosted us over the week were very welcoming and helped us in every way possible. A big thanks to them! They are the following,