Donald Ross, winner of the AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year Award 2018, received his official farm sign from SoilEssentials’ agronomy manager, Alison Easson, at his Rhynie farm last week.

The winner’s prize is a bespoke precision package from SoilEssentials, the precision farming specialists, so the visit enabled a discussion on what this would include.

With field boundaries now submitted from Rhynie Farm, in Easter Ross, satellite imagery is now assigned, enabling crop analysis and better informed decision-making, all accessible through the SoilEssentials’ cloud platform KORE, historic potential index (HPI) map on any fields he wishes.

As Mr Ross is already the owner of a drone, he will also have the ability to upload his drone flight imagery captured through the growing season to view, monitor and manage his crops more effectively.

In addition, SoilEssentials aims to use its EssentialsAnalysis service with Donald’s yield data which means that multiple years of gathered information is processed, analysed and reported back through KORE.

Ms Easson took the opportunity while there to give Donald an overview of KORE and delivered some first level training on the aspects that will be of interest and benefit to him, covering scouting, field grids, application maps and also introduced the mobile app that complements the system.

He said: “I am excited to be on this new path with SoilEssentials and really looking forward to what the KORE platform allows me to do. I enjoy experimenting in farming, so this is an ideal opportunity to try something different.”

A fifth-generation farmer, Donald was commended by the judges in the AgriScot competition, for his understanding of costs, his passion for collaboration and zeal for soil health as well as his constant drive to improve his business.

He added: “I had a very enjoyable day at the show, not only because I was a winner, but I was able to network and make many new contacts. Living and working in a remote area can, on occasions, feel like you are operating away from the beating heart and existing under the radar.”

Mr Ross – a member of the AHDB Black Isle Arable Business Group – was also successful with a second place for wheat yield potential at the annual Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) conference, last November.