MEMBERS of Scotland’s leading independent agronomy advice and trials company, Scottish Agronomy, are in for a treat at its annual conference on Wednesday, February 19, at the Huntingtower Hotel, in Perth.

The specialist independent business is based at Arlary Farm, Kinross, and supports more than 200 farmer members from all over Scotland with specialist combinable crop and potato growing advice.

Investment in key staff and machinery means the company is not only the largest operator of Recommended List and National List trials in Scotland, but is a leading influencer in trials information in the UK. It also has many trade associate members who enjoy access to important trials results and information.

Chairman, Thomas Pate, from South Powrie, near Dundee, said: “Scottish Agronomy has invested heavily in staff. We are a people business and an information business and we are training the next generation of top class independent agronomists.”

Looking forward to this year’s conference, Andrew Gilchrist, managing director of SA, said: “Little has changed in a year in terms of knowing what will happen post-Brexit and farming in Scotland continues to throw up challenges from the mild, wet autumn leading to poor establishment of some winter crops, to the continuous bad press the industry is receiving at the moment.

“We will strive to continue to offer our members the best, unbiased advice for efficient arable crop production, which will enable them to make informed decisions and help them cope with some of the challenges they face going forward. Things are going to change in the Scottish arable sector, with more emphasis on environmental sustainability.

“We hope that our experience in maintaining soil health, reducing costs of production through efficient agronomy practices, and compliance with IPM principles will continue to help our members through some choppy waters ahead.”

Speakers at the meeting include James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink, an organisation responsible for increasing the sectors’ value to £15bn per year, with the aim to boost production to £30bn by 2030.

Also speaking is Sean Sparling, an agronomist and chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants, who is a passionate ambassador for UK food and drink. His agronomy business covers more than 10,000 ha in Lincolnshire.

The third speaker, Andrew Ward, who farms 650 ha in Lincolnshire with his family, has been badly affected by the floods last year. He has twice been the Arable Farm of the Year.

The latest recipient of this award will be the final speaker – Scott Campbell, who farms 400 ha in Aberdeenshire and has transformed the family business. Delegates will hear how he is producing good yields of wheat for less than £85 per tonne in costs.