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Find out what's new in BASIS and our various schemes, and keep up to date with current industry developments. Or, select a date in the news archive to search through previous articles.

BASIS set to launch qualifications to enhance soil quality

With the Agriculture Bill set to reward farmers for ‘public goods’, such as healthy soils, BASIS is preparing to launch two qualifications which will arm the industry with knowledge and skills to enhance soil quality, biodiversity and sustainability.

Dr Aliona Jones, BASIS technical manager, explains that the new courses, due to start in early 2019, will be set at two different levels, and candidates can choose the most appropriate one for their needs.

‘Foundation in Soils’

“The primary ‘Foundation in Soils’ qualification will help farmers and advisers to better understand the relationship between physical structure, as well as biological and chemical processes,” she says.

“Farmers are increasingly finding that soil quality and productivity are complementary. So, the training will focus on how farming practices can positively and negatively influence a soil’s functionality.

“For example, it’s well known that the use of heavy machinery can lead to compaction, and overstocking grazing land can cause poaching. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that lower levels of stocking can beneficially return nutrients to the soil.”

Monitoring changes within the soil and assessing trends is another essential aspect of management that will be covered in the training.

‘Quality of soils’

The second qualification will build on the success of existing BASIS modules as well as the knowledge from the ‘Foundation in Soils’ course. It will give further insight into improving the resilience of farming systems through increased understanding of the soil ‘ecosystem’.

“A fully functioning soil with appropriate structure, chemistry and biology will enable symbiotic interaction with plants. This improves resilience to machinery traffic as well as weather extremes, such as the cold spell and drought we’ve seen this year,” says Aliona.

The new courses have come to fruition following a strong industry demand, with organisations such as the AHDB, AIC, AICC and ADAS all playing a key part.

AHDB knowledge exchange director, Dr Susannah Bolton, explains that building trust in advice on best practice soil management is essential to drive forward uptake of new knowledge and innovation in agriculture.

“These qualifications will be vital in underpinning the advisory process, while ensuring that we’re working with the best possible understanding of soil management,” she says.

Start the New Year with 12 BASIS points from LAMMA

BASIS members attending LAMMA, on 8 and 9 January, can collect up to six CPD points per day.

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that members should visit stand 717 in Hall 10 and present their membership ID card to gain two points for attendance. Those without a card can simply fill out a form with their details.

“Additional points can be gained by participating in the LAMMA knowledge trail,” he says.

“Members should pick up a stamp-card before visiting participating exhibitors and completing an activity. Upon completion, the card will be stamped and should be handed in to the BASIS team at the end of the day in exchange for points.”

BASIS points available at LAMMA

Activity Points Available

Day 1 Day 2

General attendance two points two points

Knowledge trail one point per activity, one point per activity,
up to a maximum of  up to a maximum of 
four points four points


Looking to become a BASIS member?

All BASIS courses are specially designed for individuals working in agriculture, who want to develop their knowledge to stay up to date with the latest technical innovations, best practice guidelines and regulations.

“As well as the popular BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection, a range of qualifications are available and will be showcased at the event, including the FACTS certification,” says Stephen.

“This course will provide farmers and advisers with an understanding of fertilisers and plant nutrition, to enable them to make environmentally and economically sound decisions on-farm.”

For further information please visit www.basis-reg.co.uk or call 01335 343975.

Pick up 12 BASIS points at Croptec

BASIS members attending Croptec, on 28 and 29 November, can collect up to a maximum of 6 BASIS CPD points per day.

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that members should visit stand 2 in hall 2 and present their membership ID card to gain two points for attendance. Those without their card can simply fill out a form with their details.

“Additional points can be gained by participating in the Croptec knowledge trail,” he says.

“Members should pick up a stamp-card from the stand before visiting participating exhibitors and completing an activity. Upon completion the card will be stamped and should be handed in at the BASIS stand at the end of the day in exchange for points.”

BASIS points available at Croptec

Activity Points Available

Day 1 Day 2

General attendance  two points two points

Knowledge trail one point per activity, one point per activity,
up to a maximum of  up to a maximum of 
four points four points four points four points


Looking to become a BASIS member?

All BASIS courses are specially designed for individuals working in agriculture, who want to develop their knowledge to stay up to date with the latest technical innovations, best practice guidelines and regulations.

“As well as the popular BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection, a range of courses are available and will be showcased at the event, including the Certificate in Soil and Water Management,” says Stephen.

“This course will assist farmers and advisers in managing these vital resources in a sustainable way. It will help candidates to protect the environment while striving for the best yield, which could be key to receiving payments as part of the new Agriculture Bill,” he says.

12 BASIS CPD points available at SALTEX

BASIS members will be able to collect up to 12 CPD points at this year’s two-day SALTEX event.

Six points will be available each day, two of which will be awarded for general attendance, and a further four will be on offer for participating in the ‘Learning Live’ sessions.

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, recommends joining the free educational sessions, to hear more about the latest industry updates and innovations.

“As part of the ‘Learning Live’ programme, I’ll be speaking in the Amenity Forum Question Time, at 2pm on day one. This will give delegates an opportunity to quiz the panel on current issues regarding pest and disease control,” he explains.

“The session will be led by Professor John Moverley, chair of the Amenity Forum, and other panel members will include Ruth Mann from the STRI and Will Kay from Languard.”

For a full list of the ‘Learning Live’ sessions, please visit www.iogsaltex.com/learning-live. For further information about BASIS, please visit www.basis-reg.co.uk or call 01335 343945.

How to collect BASIS points

Activity Points Available
Day 1 Day 2

General attendance Two points Two points

Learning Live One point per One point per
Sessions session, total of session, total of
four points four points





Top up your BASIS points at the National Fruit Show

BASIS members attending the National Fruit Show, from 24 – 25 October, will have the opportunity to collect up to four BASIS CPD points.

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that to collect their points for attendance, members should visit stand H8 and present their membership card to be scanned. Those without a card can simply fill out a form with their details.

“The team will be on hand to assist members with points collection and can provide advice and guidance on further courses and CPD opportunities to build on expertise.”

Looking to become a BASIS member?

Stephen explains that all BASIS courses are specially designed for individuals working in the sector, who want to develop their knowledge to stay up to date with the latest technical initiatives, best practice guidelines and regulations.

“As well as our popular Certificate in Crop Protection (Commercial Horticulture) we can offer a range of advanced crop modules for focused learning on soft fruit, trop fruit and hops or field vegetables.”

For more information on joining BASIS or taking a training course, please visit www.basis-reg.co.uk or call 01335 343945.

New BETA Conservation Management course

We’ve combined our popular ‘BETA - Biodiversity and Environmental Training for Advisers ’ and ‘Conservation Management’ courses to create a new ‘ BASIS BETA Conservation Management course’ that delivers a complete and up to date package on conservation and environment improvement across the UK.

Environmental stewardship and sustainability have been at the core of BASIS training courses for many years, but with the issue highlighted in the government’s Health and Harmony white paper, 2018 has been the perfect year to launch the ‘BETA Conservation Management qualification’.

Together with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), University of Lincoln, and two independent BASIS Approved Trainers Alasdair Lowe Limited and James Christian-Ilett BASIS has combined two previous courses – ‘BASIS BETA’ and ‘BASIS Conservation Management’ to create a unique qualification.

Sue Mason, Examinations & Training Manager explains that the short-course has been designed for individuals advising on all aspects of environmental management, conservation and stewardship.

“The core module covers sustainable farming and integrated farm management (IFM) as well as environmental protection and conservation issues.

“Following this, there is a choice of two modules, one aimed at those working directly within farming, and the other for those providing environmental advice in  farming and countryside management. For example, water company advisers,” she says.

Course details

·        Four to five-day face to face training

·        Three hour examination time (for those taking all modules)

o   25 multiple choice questions and five short answer questions on the core module

o   10 multiple choice questions and three short answer questions for each additional specialism

Coming soon: New qualifications to help enhance soil quality

We always aim to keep up with industry demands, and this means regularly creating, updating and launching new training courses. So, as soil quality and biodiversity management become an increasingly essential aspect of farming, we’ll be launching two new courses to help equip candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to help enhance farm sustainability.

In early 2019 BASIS is set to launch two brand new qualifications that will arm candidates with the knowledge and skills to help manage soils for enhanced  quality, biodiversity and long-term sustainability.

Foundation in Soils

Dr Aliona Jones, BASIS technical manager, explains that the ‘Foundation in Soils’ qualification will enable farmers and advisers to understand the relationship between physical structure, and the biological or chemical processes, that contribute to the quality of a soil.

“Farmers are increasingly finding that soil quality and productivity are complementary, so the training will focus on how farming practices can positively and negatively influence a soil’s functionality.

“For example, it’s well known that use of heavy machinery can lead to compaction, and overstocking grazing land can cause poaching. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that lower levels of stocking can beneficially return nutrients to the soil.”

She adds that monitoring changes within the soil, and assessing trends is another essential aspect of management, that will be covered in the syllabus.

Quality of Soils

The second qualification will build on the success of existing BASIS modules, and acts as a step-up from the ‘Foundation in Soils’, giving further insight into improving the resilience of farming systems through increased understanding of the soil ‘ecosystem’.

“A fully functioning soil with appropriate structure, chemistry and biology will enable symbiotic interaction with plants, which improves resilience to machinery traffic as well as weather extremes, such as the cold spell and drought we’ve seen this year,” says Aliona.

She explains that the two courses have come to fruition following a clear industry demand.

“The overarching feedback from our ‘Soil and Water’ course candidates, as well as two membership surveys, highlighted the high demand of training relating to soil quality enhancement  as well as biodiversity.”

Course details

Foundation in Soils

·        Level four (higher education) certificate accredited by Harper Adams University

·        Four to five day short-course

·        1.5 hour examination time

o   25 question multiple choice paper

o   Five question short answer paper

Quality of Soils

·        Level six (graduate) certificate accredited by Harper Adams University

·        Five day short-course

·        2.5 hour examination time

o   Six out of ten short answer questions

o   VIVA examination to assess applied knowledge and understanding in a practical context

Keep on top of safe pesticide storage

The industry is coming under increasing pressure to produce food with minimal impact to the environment. So, it’s important not to overlook chemical storage practices, and review these ahead of purchasing decisions for next season. BASIS store auditor, Peter Scott gives his top tips on the subject.

Most farm chemical stores are well maintained, but during busy periods it’s easy to overlook best practice and regulations, which can lead to costly consequences, from fines to fire damage.

Because of this, BASIS store auditor, Peter Scott, gives advice on how to review stores and best practice. He highlights various steps that can be taken to minimise fire risk, reduce waste and limit contamination.

“I normally start by reminding farmers of what not to have in the store. There are a lot of disinfectant product that shouldn’t be kept near pesticides, as they’re oxidisers. Should a fire breakout, the gases produce when the two substances combine can be extremely dangerous,” he says.

“Also, in the case of a fire, current records of pesticide stock will help to speed up treatment, but they’re mandatory for most assurance schemes, including Red Tractor, so this shouldn’t be an issue for most,” adds Peter.

Laurence Matthews, Red Tractor combinable crops and sugar beet chair, explains that Red Tractor standards require up to date stock lists that assist in product rotation. This means that older products are used first and only those with a current MAPP number are used.

Peter mentions that many chemicals are highly flammable. “If your store has a wooden door, I’d suggest replacing it or adding a metal plate – this could provide an additional 30 minutes to contain the fire.

“Many chemicals become unstable if frozen, so keeping them frost-free can help to maintain the efficacy of pesticides. Insulating the store before cold weather will go a long way to minimising frost damage.

While it is important to make sure the store is set up correctly, but the way in which chemicals are kept can also improve safety credentials.

 “In general, liquids should be kept below dry products such as slug pellets, to avoid drips contaminating other products in the case of a leak,” explains Peter.

Assurance schemes stipulate good standards and Laurence Matthews reiterates that Red Tractor stresses that safe and secure chemical storage is essential to ensuring the safety of operators, the production of safe food and having minimal impact on the environment.

Top tips for pesticide storage

·        Make sure the store is bunded

·        Store powders above liquids

·        Don’t keep oxidising products in the store, if possible

·        Protect against frost with insulation or black heat

·        Use non-absorbent shelving

·        Correct signage should be used

·        Keep flammable products in a separate and marked area

·        Regularly check and rotate stocks

·        Keep two copies of stock records, one in store and one away

·        Ensure lighting is adequate for reading bottle labels

·        Keep products in their original packaging

·        A spill kit should be available

 

Defra farming rules for water

Earlier this year, Defra brought out a new set of ‘farming rules for water’ to help protect water quality. We highlight a number of steps that farmers can take to help meet these new requirements. 

This April, Defra launched eight new rules for farming and horticulture in an effort to minimise water pollution by preventing manure, fertiliser and soil reaching watercourses.

So, as we begin to anticipate increased levels of rainfall, and therefore a greater risk of runoff and water pollution, we summarise the key points you need to remember:

1. Application of all manures and fertilisers must be planned in advance to meet soil and crop nutrient needs and not exceed these levels and take into account where there are significant risks of pollutions

2.  Organic manures must not be stored within 10m of fresh or coastal waters; within 50m of a spring, well or borehole, or where there is significant risk of pollution to fresh or coastal waters

3. Manures and fertilisers must not be applied if the soil is waterlogged, flooded, snow covered or has been frozen for more that 12 hours in the previous 24

4. Manures must not be applied within 50m of a spring, well or borehole, or 10m of fresh or coastal waters, except if precision equipment is used, then a six-metre zone applies.

5. Manufactured fertiliser must not be applied within two metres of inland freshwaters or coastal waters

6. Take precautions to prevent significant soil erosion and runoff from the application of manures and fertilisers, land management and cultivation practices, as well as poaching by livestock

7. Any land within five metres of inland freshwaters and coastal waters must be protected from significant soil erosion by preventing poaching by livestock

8. Livestock feeders must not be positioned within 10m of any inland fresh or coastal waters, 50m of a spring, well or borehole, or where there is significant risk of pollution from poaching around feeders reaching a watercourse

Those looking to learn more on nutritional planning as well as the responsible use of fertiliser and muck, should consider the BASIS certificate in Soil and Water Management. Find out more here: https://www.basis-reg.co.uk/Exams-and-Courses/Course-Listing/CourseAreaID/9a6d4a01-9a27-4969-bbb2-0ed85c5cdc73

To see the full set of Defra rules, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rules-for-farmers-and-land-managers-to-prevent-water-pollution#environmental-benefits

BASIS celebrates its 40th anniversary

Standard setting, training and auditing organisation, BASIS Registration, is celebrating its 40th year of service to agricultural and related industries throughout 2018.

This key milestone is a testament to the developing industry, proving that training and continued development is not only essential for production, but it’s here to stay, as the need for increased knowledge across the board grows.

Four decades of service

To showcase the past four decades of both the organisation and the industry, Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, looks back to 1978 when BASIS was founded to regulate agrochemical suppliers and advisers.

“One key player in the organisation’s development was former chief executive, Barrie Orme, who instigated the examination and training side, for which it is now so well known,” says Stephen.

“Once this was well established, Barrie saw the further need for ongoing professional development for agronomists to keep abreast of developments in crop protection, so set about launching the highly regarded BASIS Professional Register to meet this need in the early 1990’s.”

Developing roles

Stephen goes on to explain that the role of an adviser has also changed over time, so BASIS continually updates its courses and syllabuses and ensures that CPD points can be obtained on an array of topic areas.

“While Integrated Pest Management recommendations are still key, advisers now have a much wider remit, offering assistance with all aspects of agronomy from variety choices to soil quality improvement or wildlife enhancement on farms.”

Hazel Doonan, AIC sector head of crop protection, backs this point, highlighting the need for a good understanding of soil management for improved productivity and sustainability.

She adds that training and recognised qualifications are also important for the wider image of agriculture.

“The fact that agronomists are qualified and undertake CPD demonstrates and reassures the public that plant protection products, when required, are only recommended by professionals who have assessed the need very carefully.

Looking forwards

“Going forward, training and CPD will continue to be a high priority to help agronomists stay up-to-date with new developments in all aspects of their work. So, it’s important that course content and delivery is regularly reviewed, and all parties can access relevant training,” says Hazel.

Because of these ongoing new developments, BASIS plans to stay ahead of the curve with its ‘2020 digital transformation project’. This will bring improved efficiency and service to stakeholders while enhancing member benefits, to continue to support the industry in years to come.

For more information please visit www.basis-reg.co.uk or contact the office on 01335 343945 or help@basis-reg.co.uk.

BASIS Registration Ltd

St Monica's House, 39 Windmill Lane,
Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1EY
T: 01335 343945
F: 01335 301205
E: help@basis-reg.co.uk


BASIS is a registered charity (No. 1077006) and a
company limited by guarantee registered in England (No. 1365343)