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Keith Truett, Agronomist NIAB TAG joins the headline seminar panel

12th March 2020

I’ve spent most of my farming career hands on, managing farms and operating machinery, in all that time my first love has been growing crops and making sound cropping and agronomy decisions which help improve yields, productivity and margin for the farm.

Farming is about to go through something of a revolution, at last most of us are going to get at least half of what we have wanted for a very long time, a level playing field in terms of no subsidy for crop production, unfortunately this appears not to be coming with a fair price for the produce we are all looking to grow, be that livestock or crop.

Why is that? Consider the journey we have already undertaken over the last 20 years, farms have grown, more area is now looked after by fewer people with larger, more expensive machines and more expensive inputs. Yields have risen slightly but have now stagnated and the cost of growing each tonne of produce has approximately doubled. Just inflation many would cry, maybe so but this has made our industry noncompetitive and this is going to lead to a very bumpy journey for many over the next few years. Twenty years ago wheat could be produced for £50/t, today any farm business is going to struggle to get that below £100/t, if we had that old cost structure now all farms would be competitive! Add to this pesticide withdrawals, failures in terms of resistance and ever escalating costs and the future looks bleak.

We can all look back and see areas where things were different, but how can we start to bring back our retention of a higher percentage of the farm’s output on the growers side of the farm gate?

One area I’d suggest many could ‘take back control’ is to better informed about the inputs that go into growing the crop, many have handed responsibility for crop inputs over to an advisor, agronomist or similar, standing back due to life being too busy or too complicated. This is where NIAB’s strategic agronomy arm, NIABTAG can help inform decisions and help a return to more scientifically based decision making. We do not look to replace your existing arrangements, many agronomists and agronomy companies are already NIABTAG members. It’s my aim that everyone should have access to what we do and use that knowledge to drive their businesses forward.

We have teamed up with Karen and RAMSAK to help get this trial and practical decision making model out there to a wider section of the farming community. The success of AgriSouth is based on a desire to provide a straight forward, free to visitor’s event which lets everyone get together to share ideas and improve their own farming businesses.

On the day you will have the opportunity to meet national experts in disease control, variety selection, soil health, environmental schemes, crop inputs and every other aspect of crop production. How the demonstrations are run is to take small groups round a set of demonstration plots, stopping at each individual site to have a 10-15 minute presentation on that particular area along with the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the tour and to sign up for a free 3 month, no commitment introduction to what we can do for your business.

Come along, enjoy some hospitality and consider how this event could affect your future planning.

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