A NEW website is being launched to celebrate 35 years of the arable growers’ co-operative, Scottish Agronomy – with a free membership trial aimed at also raising money for the education charity, RHET.

Scottish Agronomy, a farmer-owned independent advice organisation with its own state-of-the-art field trials, has created a website that offers member access to the latest technical advice, trials results and industry information as well as back catalogues for reference.

However, a free 30-day trial is available for combinable crop and potato growers, and associated trade bodies, who would like to try out the service. For every new sign up, money will be donated to farming charity RHET.

Andrew Gilchrist, MD of Scottish Agronomy, said: “We know how important good agronomy is to the bottom line for farmers and for the last 35 years we are proud to have been offering impartial advice based on scientific evidence and the extensive experience of our team.

“We realise in the world we live in that information needs to be instantly accessible at any time of day, easy to digest and of value, so we have invested in a website that offers our members 24-hour access to the latest agronomic advice and developments.

“With this they can make informed evidence-based decisions to improve the management and profitability of their crops. It seems appropriate to do this as we hit a major milestone and in the International Year of Plant Health, as plant health and innovation is at the very core of what we do.”

For every sign up to the 30-day trial in 2020, Scottish Agronomy will donate £5 to RHET. For every new paying membership, Scottish Agronomy will donate a further £10 to the charity.

Spray survey

A recent survey that showed two-thirds of oilseed rape growers in the UK weren’t happy with the level of insect control being achieved, has highlighted the importance of safeguarding the natural predatory effect of beneficial organisms.

The survey, carried out by Adama, indicated that 66% of oilseed rape growers were dissatisfied with the protection delivered by their current insecticide programmes – 46% also claimed they are unable to maintain an acceptable level of control with the range of products available.

Growers are, therefore, advised to adopt an integrated approach to insect control, said Melanie Wardle, insecticide product manager for Adama. “As winter oilseed rape crops begin to flower and warmer spring weather approaches, growers and agronomists should be on the lookout for cabbage seed weevil activity.

“That’s especially as our survey highlighted that growers perceive these insects to be one of the dominant threats at this time of year.”

Seed weevils can cause significant yield losses in oilseed rape, not only as a result of the direct damage caused by laying their eggs in developing pods, but also by subsequent populations of brassica pod midges which use the holes left by the hatched weevil larvae to access rapeseed pods and lay their own eggs.

“Growers in known hotspots such as Yorkshire and Lincolnshire must be particularly vigilant and should safeguard the natural predatory effect of beneficial organisms in order to optimise control,” Ms Wardle added.

“One way of achieving this, when insect populations have reached threshold, is to use a pesticide which has a lower residual impact on advantageous predators – a strategy which 54% of survey respondents are already adopting.

“Mavrik (240 g/litre tau-fluvalinate) will provide fast acting contact control of cabbage seed weevils and has been proven to have a lower residual impact on beneficial insects compared to other pyrethroids,” she pointed out.

The survey showed that 27.5% of the 171 farmers and agronomists questioned were actively monitoring for populations of beneficial organisms in OSR and that 88% of growers encouraged populations of beneficials by providing a favourable habitat and modifying spray timings.


The Scottish Farmer remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of Covid-19.

If you are unable to get out to pick up your weekly read, please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £35 - or consider a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months.

To arrange either follow this link:


Thanks – and stay safe