BASIS training is not simply about building up knowledge.
For David Piggott, a second benefit is the network of farmers and agronomists he has trained with over the past five years as he worked towards his BASIS diploma in agronomy, which he achieved this year.
Mr Piggott grew up in Lincolnshire, with its rich diversity of broadacre and field vegetable crops. He gained a degree in plant science from the University of
Nottingham, then joined the Management Development Services (MDS) graduate scheme.
At MDS, one of his placements was with multinational crop science company Syngenta, where he subsequently took up a full-time role. Today, Mr Piggott is a regional technical manager with particular responsibility for herbicide registration and re-registration in north-west Europe.
The job involves a mix of trial design and visits, along with gathering data from a wealth of field trials and tests to produce the packages needed for the registration authorities.
“It is too easy to become focused on the can and the label without taking into account the real world in which crop protection products are used day by day,” he says.
“However, when you undertake any BASIS training you find yourself working with farmers and agronomists whose experience of practical farming is invaluable.”
Mr Piggott has undertaken a considerable amount of BASIS training, starting in 2014 when he gained the BASIS certificate in crop protection and entered
the professional register.
Since then, with encouragement and support from Syngenta, Mr Piggott has gone on to take a range of further modules, including FACTS, the Plant Protection Award, the Soil and Water Management Certificate, BETA Conservation Management and Advanced Cereals.
This year he joined the group of those who have undertaken sufficient training to be awarded the BASIS diploma in agronomy – an accolade which has now been gained by more than 300 people in the industry.
“While my current role does not involve walking fields and making recommendations day after day, the knowledge I have built up over the past five years is invaluable. In my current role it ensures I bring a practical view to how crop protection products are developed to fit the needs of farmers and sprayer operators,” says Mr Piggott.
And Mr Piggott’s thirst for knowledge continues. He is now set to undertake another module of training – the advanced quality of soils module – this autumn.
By adding this to his tally, Mr Piggott will gain one of the highest academic achievements BASIS offers – the Harper Adams graduate diploma in agronomy with environmental management.
To date, only 27 people have achieved this qualification.
“I am really looking forward to this course. I think a better understanding of soil and how to manage its health will become increasingly important to many aspects of farming,” says Mr Piggott.
Full details of the modules necessary to achieve the BASIS and Harper Adams diplomas are available on the BASIS Registration website basis-reg.co.uk