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Latest News

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.

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.


Label changes in the conditions relating to the use of both Phostoxin® and Talunex® for the nonagricultural control of brown rats resulted in the UK marketing companies putting a temporary suspension 

on the use of both products for rodent control until a clear and workable process could be agreed by all UK stakeholders.

Additional label requirements for the non-agricultural control of brown rats, moles and rabbits regarding risk areas and gas level monitoring have also been introduced which required clear guidance for operators and trainers.

The updated 2018 version of the RAMPS UK Code of Good Practice has been produced reflecting these changes and give clear additional guidance on all aspects of agricultural and non-agricultural control of brown rats, moles and rabbits. 

For more Information, please click here

Novel research project wins BASIS Paul Singleton award

A forward-thinking research project, that has scope to play a part in the fight against blackgrass, has seen Jamie Stotzka win the highly-regarded BASIS ‘Paul Singleton Project of the Year Award’.

The consultant bioagronomist was presented with her award at Cereals and explains that her study focused on the effect of microbial inoculants on the growth and development of blackgrass.

“From working in the industry, it’s clear that blackgrass is a major issue, costing farms up to £134/ha[1]to control, before accounting for any further crop losses,” says Jamie.

“So, I used the project element of my BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection to find out whether the microbial inoculants that I work with in my role at PlantWorks Ltd. could play a key part in an integrated approach to tackle the aggressive weed.”

Jamie explains that her research was formed of two sections. “The first was designed to monitor whether arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can help cover crops to outcompete and suppress blackgrass growth.

“My second experiment approached the problem from a different angle, this time using plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR),” she adds.

“I wanted to find out whether PGPR could stimulate the early germination and growth of blackgrass to minimise the threat to winter sown crops. In theory this could mean that the entire population of blackgrass seeds germinate in the autumn, before spraying off to provide a clean seedbed to drill the next crop.”

The results of both trials were positive, with the first test that used AMF clearly showing an increase in biomass of the cover crop, with potential to outcompete weeds. The PGPR encouraged an early flush of blackgrass in the autumn, suggesting reduced pressure during the following growing season.

She highlights that NIAB has shown a great interest in her work. “I presented my findings to the team, and they’re going to build on my research with PGPR, as my trials provided a good grounding for a potential solution to the blackgrass problem.”

Jamie adds that she is delighted with the award, that was judged against 10 other leading BASIS projects, out of 250 submitted. “It’s tremendous that such a novel subject has been recognised for this key industry award, I feel extremely honoured and hope my findings can help farmers in the future.”

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that Jamie is a worthy winner and highlights how her project stepped away from the norm with a clear aim to enhance the industry.

“As always the standard of projects was exceptional, but Jamie’s high level of detail and strong Integrated Crop Management focus stood out to the judging panel.”

The Pesticides Forum annual report for 2017 has been published

The 2017 Pesticides Forum Annual Report, ‘Pesticides in the UK – The 2017 report on the impacts and sustainable use of pesticides’, has been published on the Pesticides Forum’s web community site. 

The announcement page contains an introduction and link to the annual report, please click here to see the page.

The annual report (a 3.5MB pdf file) may also be accessed directly by clicking here

Record CPD haul points to ongoing success of PROMPT register

A steady stream of pest control professionals arriving at our stall at the recent PPC Live event helped us to log more CPD points than ever before.

Our staff were kept busy with their scanners throughout the day, logging the points for a total of PROMPT register members, who each picked up two points simply for attending.

They were then able to add to their tallies by visiting the various seminars through the day, each of which enabled attendees to collect more points – up to a maximum of six - as well as gain valuable insights and knowledge to help them in their work.

In total, 268 people visited our stand to log their points, compared to 195 at the last show, in 2016, while we had a healthy number of applications too.

Among the seminars generating the highest numbers of CPD points was the Action vs Impacts seminar and a talk on marketing by Ben Massey, marketing and communications manager for the BPCA.

Ninety-seven people, meanwhile, picked up a CPD point by attending an outdoor demonstration of air rifles.

Stephen Jacob, Chief Executive of BASIS PROMPT, said: “Not only was PPC Live a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the industry to get together to learn and discuss the latest news and updates, it was an easy way for members to gather CPD points.

“Our data showed that more people took the opportunity to do so than ever before, which is a reflection of the numbers of people who attended the event and are now members of our register.

“It’s a wonderful endorsement not only of the growing reputation of the PROMPT register but also the growing understanding of how regular training and education are vital for operators working in the industry.”

BASIS Registration Ltd

St Monica's House, 39 Windmill Lane,
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T: 01335 343945
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E: help@basis-reg.co.uk

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