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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.

CropTec 2017

The CropTec show is for all farmers and agronomists seeking the latest information on innovative methods to increase profits from crop production. 

As the UK’s leading technical and knowledge exchange event for the arable farming industry, this two-day show provides you with the ideal chance to explore ways to improve efficiency and reduce unit costs of production.

Come to Peterborough in November to discuss adaptation of new technology, cutting edge agronomy and best business practices with likeminded farmers and a wide range of relevant exhibitors. Join those who want to learn, invest in and implement strategies to combat the effects of the increasingly dynamic, uncertain and competitive world of global crop production. Discover how your farming business compares and how benchmarking could help you become more profitable.

Tickets for The CropTec Show are free providing you pre-register at: www.croptecshow.com

Wednesday 29th & Thursday 30th November at the East of England Showground, Peterborough. 


Yorkshire farmer Paul Temple has been appointed as the new chairman of The Voluntary Initiative (VI).

Ruth Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Engineers Association and Chair the Voluntary Initiative Community Interest Group representing the sponsoring organisations, announcing the appointment, said: “I am delighted to say that following a recruitment exercise involving an extremely high class field of candidates, Paul Temple has been selected to be the new VI Chairman.

“Paul’s breadth of knowledge of the agriculture industry, including his time as Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union, and his experience as an innovative farmer who is a willing adopter of new technologies, makes him an obvious choice to lead the VI at this challenging time for the agriculture industry.
“I would also like to thank the outgoing Chairman Richard Butler for his outstanding contribution to the work of the VI over the past six years.  Richard has been instrumental in making the VI the industry champion for high-class environmental stewardship.”
Paul Temple who farms near Driffield in East Yorkshire offered his thanks to all the sponsor organisations of the VI for the trust they have placed in him to take the organisation forward.
“I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the VI at this important time for British agriculture,” he said
“Although we do not yet know the Government’s plans for our sector, I know that the pressure on all of us to continue to produce good wholesome food at a price that is fair to the producer and consumer alike will increase.
“To achieve this, we must always look to make the most agri-economic efficient use of our land.  This brings challenges that will require the industry to adopt new and innovative practices that encourage greater use of integrated approaches and the continued responsible use of pesticides.  We also need to demonstrate that the whole industry takes stewardship of our land seriously and, as importantly, we must do this in a way that is sympathetic to the wider environment.”

Pesticides in the UK – The 2016 report on the impacts and sustainable use of pesticides

‘Pesticides in the UK – The 2016 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:


The annual report (a 2.4MB pdf file) may also be accessed directly at:


Readers may wish to note the new format of the 2016 report and integration of the indicators’ graphics and data into Annex 1.       

Want to Know What’s Been Changed in RB209?

The main fertiliser recommendation system used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (RB209) has been updated in a ninth edition. 

The major changes are to the grassland recommendations, which have been re-structured. In addition, an optional yield adjustment to the nitrogen recommendations for cereals has been introduced. However, there are many other detailed changes and it’s important to use the new edition right away.

The new Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) is in seven sections, all of which are available in several formats:
Free of charge at AHDB events
As an app for Apple or Android (coming soon) devices
As a navigable PDF 
Hard copies are available to order by emailing cereals.publications@ahdb.org.uk 

The main changes from the eighth edition (published in 2010) are as follows: 
Section one: Principles of nutrient management and fertiliser use
More concise information
The risk of sulphur deficiency has been highlighted
Guidance on building soil P & K Indices more rapidly
Increased emphasis on soil sampling
Guidance on when SMN sampling can be most useful
Section two: Organic materials
Includes instructional videos on sampling slurry and farm yard manure
Provides information on the availability of sulphur from organic materials
N, P2O5 and K2O nutrient content values for manures and slurries have been updated
Nutrient content of digestate has been added
Section three: Grassland and forage crops
N recommendations now based on expected dry matter yield without linking to particular animal production systems (dairy, beef or sheep), milk yield, stocking rate or concentrate use
Whole season nitrogen requirements and application sequences provided separately for cutting and grazing situations
Recommendations for swedes, turnips, rape and kale altered to reflect more grazing in-situ
Section four: Arable crops
Cereal recommendations have been revised and now include an optional adjustment based on expected yield for winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley and winter triticale
Section five: Potatoes
Updated determinacy groups
Recommendation to apply sulphur where the risk of deficiency is high
Section six: Vegetables and bulbs
Recommendations for baby leaf lettuce, wild rocket, coriander and mint have been added
Sweetcorn and leek recommendations have been revised
Information of leaf nutrient analysis has been added
Section seven: Fruit, vines and hops
Guidance on timing of nitrogen applications to blackcurrants and raspberries have been revised
Information on leaf nutrient analysis for substrate grown strawberries has been added

Audits for Rodenticide Point of Sale Controls are Key to Stewardship Success

Plans for independent auditing of rodenticide stewardship point of sale checks have been announced jointly by BASIS Registration and the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU). When buying professional rat baits, gamekeepers, farmers and professional pest controllers must prove they are qualified to make the purchase.

The BASIS Stores Inspection Scheme, which already uses independent assessors to ensure compliance with regulations for the storage and distribution of professional pesticides, is set to be extended by the two organisations.
Lindsay Smith-Boam, Logistics Manager at BASIS, says that the creation of an audit process specifically for rodenticides will be significant in ensuring the success of the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime.
“Applying controls at the point of sale, such as checking distribution staff are aware of the regulations and best practice requirements, is an important part of stewardship,” she says.
“For distributors already operating within the long-established Stores Inspection Scheme, the fact it will now cover rodenticides too should be seen as good news.
“It will provide further evidence that the entire supply chain is controlling availability of these products, as a result enabling continued access to them without further restriction.
“Those who haven’t been involved with BASIS before can rest assured that our experience will help their business meet stewardship requirements,” she adds.
Audits will apply to all supply routes - trade and retail premises as well as internet - with the first audit cycle conducted by BASIS between February and November 2018. 
Rupert Broome, CRRU UK point of sale work group leader, says that any company or outlet selling professional use rodenticides must have passed a BASIS Point of Sale audit for rodenticide stewardship compliance by 30 November 2018.
“This is a planned progression from proof of competence checks on rodenticide purchasers, which were rolled out in October 2016,” he adds.
CRRU UK and BASIS will advise the supply chain on the precise audit process, and the requirements that have to be met, between July and December this year.
Failure to comply with any aspect of the stewardship regime may lead to the company concerned being reported to HSE, Trading Standards and any other relevant body. 
It may also lead to cancellation of the authorisation for sale of the product concerned.
BASIS is currently recruiting individuals to strengthen the team, by conducting annual rodenticide store assessments throughout the UK. 
We’re looking for somebody with a good knowledge of the pesticide industry, the use of a car and availability for around 15 – 25 days’ work a year. If you’re interested, please email your CV and covering email to lindsay@basis-reg.co.uk 

FACTS Fertiliser Qualification Updated to Align with RB209 Launch

FACTS from BASIS - the UK’s leading crop and grassland nutritional management qualification, has been updated and brought into alignment with the new RB209 guidelines launched by AHDB this summer. 

“Amendments have been made to the FACTS syllabus, to ensure exam papers are consistent with the new technical updates in RB209,” says Dr Ian Richards, FACTS nutrition consultant. 
Ian explains how some of the exam questions have changed. “Multiple choice questions take into account the new yield adjustment for cereal nitrogen recommendations. The ‘scenario papers’ model answers have also been amended to include the new manure phosphorus and potassium concentrations, as well as new nitrogen recommendations for malting barley – these are just some of the alterations. 
“FACTS trainers have been aware of the changes since this time last year, and our practical recommendations have been updated according to the latest research informing the new guide,” he says. 
Ian is a member of the steering group for RB209 and is positive about the launch. “There are plenty of improvements. The new guide has been broken down by sector, so FACTS qualified agronomists and advisors can use information that’s relevant to them.
“It’s now suitable for agronomists right through to fertiliser salesmen, and its downloadable – so can be accessed on phones and tablets,” adds Ian. 
When revising the guide, Ian worked closely with James Holmes, senior scientist for crop nutrition from AHDB, who is clear that being FACTS qualified and maintaining CPD is crucial for keeping up to date with legislation changes such as those in the new RB209. “The challenge was updating RB209 for the benefit of the industry, and work on improving courses for nutritional management will hopefully directly change farming practices for the better,” says James. 
To find out more about the FACTS qualification visit the BASIS website: www.BASIS-reg.co.uk .

Up to Six BASIS Points on Offer at Fruit Focus

BASIS members attending Fruit Focus on 19 July are being given the opportunity to collect six BASIS CPD points at the event. 

Two of the six points on offer can be obtained by heading to the BASIS stand - number 164, and presenting a BASIS membership card to a member of the team. Those without a card can fill in a form with their details.
Stephen Jacob, CEO of BASIS mentions that the remaining four points can be collected by participating in various technical activities on the day. 
“I’d really recommend joining in with one of the various fruit forums, research tours or wine skills workshops, where you’ll find out about the latest industry updates and innovations. Those that complete up to four of these sessions will be rewarded with one point per activity.” 
In order to collect their points, members should visit the BASIS stand to pick up a card, which will be stamped after each session they participate in. Once they have collected up to four stamps, the card needs to be handed back in at the stand, and the points will be awarded accordingly. 
The team will be on hand all day to assist with the points collection process, but will also be able to provide advice and guidance to prospective BASIS members, and will have details of the wide range of training courses on offer to both members and non-members. 
As well as the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection (Commercial Horticulture) there is a range of advanced crop modules available that enable individuals to focus their learning on soft fruit, top fruit and hops or field vegetables.

Enhanced Metaldehyde Stewardship Launched for 2017

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has launched an enhanced campaign for 2017 to ensure maximum protection of the environment, and in particular birds, small mammals, and water.

And in line with the campaign BASIS trainers are delivering this information to reflect the important changes, ensuring that candidates are always at the forefront of industry updates, and can advise on the latest stewardship guidelines.
Speaking at the launch event, Simon McMunn, spokesman for the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), explained why the campaign has evolved, and what this means for UK agriculture.  
“It’s important to note that water stewardship remains vital and is still very much at the heart of the campaign,” he explained. 
“However, an issue that’s distinct from the water quality is that metaldehyde products are undergoing re-registration. And the regulatory risk assessment, which forms part of this process, has revealed a requirement for increased protection of birds and small mammals. 
“Because of this, stewardship is now a CRD-agreed condition of metaldehyde product availability and regulators will be monitoring the campaign success closely. 
“This means it’s more important than ever for the industry to pull together and follow stewardship advice, to help preserve the future of the active ingredient, which remains a key tool in slug control.” 
“Firstly, there is a new guideline for 2017 which states that no pellets should be allowed to fall within a minimum of 10 metres of any field boundary or watercourse,” explained Simon. 
“The buffer was previously six metres and it only applied to watercourses. However, increasing it to 10 metres of all field boundaries will help protect birds and small mammals, and provide additional protection to water,” he added.  
“Secondly, with the view of helping to minimise slug infestations and reduce the need for treatment, metaldehyde slug pellets must only be used as part of a wider Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme. 
“Factors such as soil and stubble management, planting methods, weather, trapping and monitoring should all be considered as part of slug control programmes. And, if treatment is necessary, it’s imperative to refer to the full set of MSG guidelines,” he added. 
“A field’s soil type, topography and proximity to a water course are key to whether metaldehyde applications could be a risk that will subsequently impact drinking water quality, and should always be considered. 
“And, last but not least, we want people to stop and think ‘B.I.R.D’ before applying. This stands for Buffer, I’m legal, Records, and Dose.
“These steps are all easy to implement but will have significant impacts on the future of metaldehyde availability. I’d really encourage everyone one to get involved and apply pellets responsibly.”
Speaking at the event, David Ellerton of Hutchinsons endorsed the role of stewardship.  
“I firmly believe that stewardship is one of the core reasons that metaldehyde is still available to farmers and it’s a credit to the work of the MSG and the agricultural industry over the past nine years. 
“In common with all the agronomy organisations, Hutchinsons is fully behind the enhanced campaign and I will be personally spreading the best practise messages in my role as the firm’s Stewardship Champion.
“We need to keep this momentum going forwards and I’d therefore encourage the agricultural industry to engage with the enhanced stewardship and implement the necessary steps required to protect metaldehyde.” 
New IPM guide
The MSG has launched a practical guide on IPM and slug control and you can request copies by emailing info@getpelletwise.co.uk 
Two BASIS points have been allocated to the guide and to claim points, members of the professional register have to read the guide and complete a short series of questions online: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MSG-BASIS 
Label recommendation 
The MSG has clarified that labels on packs of slug pellets remain unchanged for 2017. However, the group is clear that the highlighted steps should be implemented with immediate effect. 
More information 
More information on the enhanced stewardship can be found at www.getpelletwise.co.uk

BASIS Award Winner for Novel Cover Crop Research Announced at Cereals 2017

The much-anticipated award winner for the BASIS ‘Paul Singleton Project of the Year Award’ goes to Rosalind Martin, for a cover crop project, which could aid integrated weed management strategies on arable farms. 

The winning project investigates how cover crop ‘debris’ affects pre-emergence herbicide efficacy and wheat crop emergence. 
“In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in the use of cover crops and direct drilling establishment techniques,” says Rosalind Martin, award winner, and Bayer commercial technical advisor for the North West. “However, when cover crops are sprayed off and winter wheat is direct drilled, the cover crop debris remains on the ground. It is then unknown how this may impact crop emergence and the efficacy of pre-emergence herbicides.”
Rosalind was inspired to conduct the project when she visited David White, a self-proclaimed ‘Dog and Spade Farmer’, local to Cambridge, during her training at Bayer. 
Rosalind’s project was conducted in 2015 on David’s farm, on a medium-pressure blackgrass site, and included a robust herbicide programme as well as several cultural control measures, such as delayed drilling.  
“The trial compared two plots, one where the cover crop debris was removed by hand and one where the debris was left in its natural state. The results showed that there was no difference between the two sites, in terms of weed and crop emergence,” says Rosalind. 
“The conclusion is that this style of integrated weed management can give good control of medium pressure blackgrass, and also indicated that debris doesn’t affect crop emergence. Further work will need to be carried out in order to establish the effect of cover crop debris on pre-emergence herbicide efficacy. However, initial research, conversations with growers and a literature review suggest that they may not affect their efficacy.”
Rosalind is delighted with the win, which has been judged against the top five projects which are a fundamental element of the ‘Certificate in Crop Protection’ training from BASIS. “It’s a real honour to win. The course was really enjoyable as it was so relevant to my job and has benefitted me hugely, in terms of knowledge and career development. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in agronomy and I hope that my research can be of value to our UK farmers,” adds Rosalind. 
Stephen Jacob, BASIS’ CEO, is pleased to announce who he feels is a deserving winner. “We had some fantastic projects through this year. But this one stood out to the panel of BASIS exam chairmen, due to the level of practical and technical understanding, and benefit to the industry. We’re pleased to hand it to a worthy winner,” he says.  

Barrie Orme Shield Winner 2016

Sally Morris, an agronomist with Farmacy has been awarded the prestigious Barrie Orme Shield for being the top performing student in the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection in 2016.

Sally grew up on the 350 acre, all arable family farm near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire where she developed a passion for crops and agronomy. She gained a first class degree in crop science at Sutton Bonington, University of Nottingham in 2015. During her degree course she undertook eight months work in Australia. Shadowing agronomists ‘down under’ on such issues as drought tolerant and nitrogen efficient wheat and barley varieties reinforced Sally’s passion for arable farming and agronomy.

For the past two years she has participated in the Hutchinson Foundation, run by crop production specialists Hutchinsons. The Foundation has now trained some 60 future agronomists and gaining BASIS qualifications is part of the training.

“I see BASIS training as an essential stepping stone to building a career in agronomy,” says Sally. “The course provides an insight into the principles which underpin successful crop production.”

James Christian Illett was the BASIS accredited trainer who helped Sally through the course, which included a dissertation on a specialist topic. Her chosen topic was to examine the current options for slug control in oilseed rape.

“I recognised that effective slug control is one of the challenges that oilseed rape growers face nowadays and that challenge is being made harder by the increasing pressure to minimise pesticides entering water courses,” says Sally.

Sally returned to the family farm for her dissertation to undertake whole field trials on the current materials available for slug control. Her aim was to compare the efficacy and longevity of the two main options – metaldehyde and ferric oxide.

“Essentially, I set out to see if ferric phosphate is an effective alternative to metaldehyde,” she explains. “From my trials, I established they are equally effective. Therefore, ferric phosphate is a suitable alternative with a much better environmental profile that will reduce the risk of metaldehyde causing spikes in water sources.”

With the basic BASIS qualification under her belt, Sally has already gone on to take FACTS training on crop nutrition and, as we went to press, was eagerly awaiting the results of her FACTS examination.

“I really enjoyed the course. I find crop nutrition fascinating and also recognise that there is much more to learn about the topic.”

More training is high on Sally’s agenda and she is determined to achieve the BASIS Diploma, although she recognises that it will take three or four years.

“Sally is typical of the new breed of agronomists coming into the industry,” said Stephen Jacob, BASIS Chief Executive. “A real enthusiasm not just for learning, but also for developing practical skills that will help farmers to improved efficiency and enhance quality alongside environmental benefits.” 


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