Dozens of companies, research organisations and agencies will be present at the new Arable Scotland event on July 2, at Balruddery Farm, Invergowrie.

They will showcase some of the commercial solutions and emerging research that will help farmers maximise the opportunities for arable production in Scotland.

On offer on the day will be a mix of central demonstration plots, self-guided tour plots, field displays, discussion sessions and tented exhibits in a main marquee.

Jointly organised by AHDB, the James Hutton Institute and SRUC, Arable Scotland is a brand-new event for Scotland where the industry can view, share and explore the new innovations that will drive the markets and the future sustainability of Scottish arable production.

The challenges facing the arable sector have been starkly illustrated already in 2019 – with prolonged dry weather in some areas stressing crops, and rapid switches between warmth and cold adding further to leaf scorch and yellowing symptoms.

There are plenty of aphids about to illustrate the pest and disease burden in our arable crops, exacerbated by a warmer winter. In addition we have the challenges arising from a run of pesticide withdrawals and the impact of Brexit uncertainty on our markets.

But Scotland produces some of the highest quality and highest yielding crops in the world and has long been a hot-bed of innovation. Arable Scotland will showcase some of the solutions to future challenges such as varieties with enhanced yield and improved disease resistance, new pesticides and demonstrations of systems and rotations that work for Scottish farms.

As an annual event, it will feature a major on a specific theme each year. Future events will look at a range of conventional and alternative arable crops and will consider themes such as break crops, energy crops, cover crops, wheat for distilling and crops for feed markets.

For the 2019 inaugural Arable Scotland event, spring barley will be the overarching theme in recognition of its vital role in arable farming and the 250,000 ha of Scotland’s arable land devoted to its production.

Spring barley will be used to showcase four sub-themes at the event around which the attending demonstrators have themed their displays and trials. These themes are innovative breeding solutions; quality crops for defined markets; innovative crop management and finally, sustainable and healthy systems.

Attendees at the day will be free to plan their own tours and self-guide around the displays and events on the day. The event is open all day (10am-4.30pm) and attendees are free to drop in at any time.

On arrival, they will be offered the chance to take a guided tour of the core zone of demonstration plots where the main features of the event will be highlighted. The tours will last around 30 minutes and be guided by experienced agronomists to lead discussion and translate the demonstrations into practical speak.

Zone one will look at the range of barley traits that are possible and the role of breeders in meeting the future needs of the barley market. On site on the day will be breeding companies and seed merchants to support this theme and develop these innovations.

Zone two will look at the current market drivers and key varieties will be featured, with a fuller demonstration of the spring barley recommended list available on the site for self-guided visits.

Zone three will showcase innovative crop management will feature and other trials and demonstrations on the site will be highlighted which include new pesticides, targeted agronomy for different tillage systems and the management of crops post chorothalonil withdrawal.

Zone four will look at sustainable and healthy systems discuss emerging and novel systems that improve biodiversity and which also enhance soil health and organic matter. From this zone, attendees can follow up in greater depth by taking a tour of the Centre for Sustainable Cropping, at Balruddery Farm.

One of the key aims of the Arable Scotland event is to enhance networks across the supply chain and the day will feature a series of ‘Arable Conversation’ discussion sessions. These will major on some of the challenges and opportunities for the industry including those facing new entrants, and in balancing sustainability with profit. Market opportunities will also be discussed.

The Arable Conversations will be briefly introduced by an expert panel, including a farmer member, but conversation from the floor will be the main feature with the chance to lodge questions in advance or at the time through a dedicated text line. Join the discussion before, during and after the event by using #ArableScotland.

As media partner, The Scottish Farmer will run a feature on the discussion sessions before the event.


Zone 1 Innovative breeding

• How wide is the range of traits possible?

• What are the market preferences, what sells?

• What future needs could be met?

• What’s the route to breeders?

Zone 2 Quality crops for defined markets

• What suits your market and management?

• What varieties are suited to your site?

• What’s your available market?

• Can you add value, any capture new markets?

• What traits are important for IPM and sustainability?

Zone 3 Innovative crop management

• Innovative management

• Challenges and compromises

• Profits key but sustainability needs increasing too

• Tailoring solutions

• New pesticides

• Field mapping

Zone 4 Sustainable and healthy systems

• Resilient systems

• Massive interest in forage crops

• Wildlife and biodiversity increased

• Dry summers – more resilient high

OM soils really came through

• What’s novel coming along, rotations

Centre for Sustainable Cropping (tours)


Zone 1 Innovative breeding

• Hutton: Mutants, straw

digestibility, ancient barley, Maximass

Syngenta UK

Zone 2 Quality crops for defined markets

• Hutton: OPTIOAT, Impromalt

• SRUC: Recommended List Varieties

• Syngenta UK

• Scotland the Bread

Zone 3 Innovative crop management

• Hutton: Inversion/non-inversion

tillage, winter cereal-legume biomass

• FAS: Crop and Soil Health

• SRUC: Reduced input programmes

• The Glenside Group

• Syngenta UK

• Corteva Agriscience

• SoilEssentials

• HL Hutchinsons

• SAC Consulting Solutions

Zone 4 Sustainable and healthy systems

• Hutton: Cover crops, DIVERSify, mono-cropping

• SRUC: IPM, Nitrogen

• Corteva Agriscience

• Rowett Institute

• Syngenta UK

• Linking Environment and Farming

• The Glenside Group

• Kings

• Farming and Water Scotland