“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 .