The CropTec Show seminar programme: Helping farmers overcome uncertainty and manage for the long term

Sixteen speakers covering four key areas in eight sessions over two days – this year’s CropTec seminar programme is packed full of information and advice to help farmers maintain and improve their businesses through one of the most uncertain periods the sector has faced for many decades.

The seminar programme will provide an unmissable insight into the latest developments across crop establishment, crop nutrition, crop protection and crop breeding.

Each session will examine how the application of science, research, new technology and knowledge exchange can help the UK crop production industry remain profitable.

The CropTec Show’s development director Stephen Howe says: “The arable sector faces unprecedented uncertainty as farmers, their suppliers and the countryside grapple with the unknowns created by the Brexit debacle and as they wait to learn the full ramifications of the Agricultural Bill.

“Making the right choices at the right times is never easy for any business, but the long-term nature of farming means growers need as clear a vision of the future as possible so they can find ways to adapt to change.

“There’s no better place to discover some of the answers to those questions than at CropTec.

“Whether it’s about the future shape of farm support; business expansion or contraction; the role of environmental schemes or the future of the crop protection armoury, the seminars will be packed full of expert advice.”


Seminar programme


Crop Establishment  Sponsored by Horsch 

Session Chair: Will Gemmill, chairman, regional executive and head of farming, Strutt & Parker

Profiting from tough decisions: Making every hectare count

The Agricultural Bill of 2018 proposes to link any future support to improvements in soil health, air and water quality, plus climate change mitigation. How can farmers adapt to those, as yet, vague proposals?

Speaker: Andrew Pitts, Northants farmer and consultant

Rooting for profit provided by cover crops

A look at the latest findings and recommendations from Cranfield’s BBSRC-funded project examining the impact of different cover crop rooting systems on soil properties.

Speaker: Sarah De Baets, lecturer Plant-Soil Systems, Cranfield University

Crop establishment – it pays to be precise

Precision drilling of cereals using variable seed rates, based on soil type and previous yield data, can improve crop yield and quality, optimise seed utilisation and boost profitability.

Speaker: Matt Ward, agronomist and services leader, advisory and agronomy business, Farmacy

Session chair Will Gemmill says:

“Cost-effective crop establishment is critical to farmers’ future profits. How farmers manage their soils and find more innovative ways of keeping them healthy whilst capturing carbon emissions will be critical in the future.

“In addition, reducing chemical solutions coupled with a desire to continue making efficiencies on fixed costs means finding innovative solutions to soil management becomes ever more important.”



Crop Nutrition  Sponsored by Yara

Session Chair: Mark Tucker, agronomy and business development manager, Yara UK

Implications of the Clean Air Act

An overview of the greenhouse gas intensity of cropping and the importance of nitrogen fertiliser, plus the value of agronomics to demonstrate the benefits and prevent on-farm penalties.

Speaker: Daniel Kindred, head of Agronomics, ADAS

Evidence-based approach to crop nutrition

Building on new evidence based on grain benchmarking and the work of the Yield Enhancement Network, here’s detail of a new approach to nutrient application to minimise losses while maximising profitability.

Speaker: Natalie Wood, arable agronomist for UK and Ireland, Yara UK

Navigating the right course for quality water and profit

What is a realistic target for nitrogen use efficiency to realise optimum yield and profitability while minimising leaching? Here are some solutions, including the uses of nitrogen loss inhibitors.

Speaker: Keith Goulding, Sustainable soils research fellow, Rothamsted Research

Session chair Mark Tucker says:

“Over recent years crop nutrition has grown to be the number one area where farmers are demanding more information to build their knowledge. This, coupled with it being such a significant investment and linked to numerous environmental issues, makes being mediocre not good enough.

“The Croptec Crop Nutrition seminars have always sought for excellence in key topic areas. 2019 is no exception and once again brings experts together to address both agronomic and environmental issues currently at the heart of many discussions with efficiency a thread common throughout.”


Crop Protection  Sponsored by Nufarm

Session Chair: Emma Hamer, senior plant health adviser, NFU

Managing with fewer pesticides

Losses of valuable fungicides have a severe impact on disease control, resistance management and profitability across a range of arable crops.

Speaker: Fiona Burnett, head of Connect for Impact, Scotland’s Rural College Knowledge and Innovation Hub and chair of the Fungicide Resistance Group

Profiting from early disease detection

Early crop disease detection, using drone and satellite technology, would be of great benefit to farmers and the countryside. What are the principles behind this innovation and what technology will be required?

Speaker: Matt Kettlewell, agronomist, Hummingbird

Keeping up with changing herbicide dynamics

Broad-leaved weed dynamics are shifting, making control more challenging in arable crops. What can be done to prevent the problem building up and to protect profits?

Speaker: Sarah Cook, weed scientist and senior research consultant, ADAS, Boxworth

Session chair Emma Hamer says:

The NFU wants British farmers and growers to remain the number one supplier of choice to the British market. We want all consumers to be able to enjoy sustainable, high quality, affordable British food, irrespective of their income.

Having a toolbox of effective solutions to crop protection problems is our goal so that pests, weeds and diseases can be managed. By listening to the speakers in this session, the audience can stay on the front foot and keep up to date on current research being carried out in this area.

Crop Breeding  Sponsored by BASF

Session Chair: Russell McKenzie, Cambridgeshire farmer and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Board member

Winning ways with wheat lies in its genes

The Wheat Genetic Improvement Network is a rolling BBSRC project, funded by DEFRA. Its research on a range of traits is designed to reduce production costs while offering environmental benefits.

Speaker: Kim Hammond-Kosack, research leader, wheat pathogenomics and deputy head, Department of Biointeractions and Crop Protection, Rothamsted Research

Breeding resilience into oilseed rape

Research is helping plant breeders take the risk out of growing winter oilseed rape by selecting traits to produce varieties which are resilient to pests, such as cabbage stem flea beetle, and weather variation.

Speaker: Steven Penfield, group leader Genes in the Environment, John Innes Centre

Variety selection in uncertain times

Given the uncertainty surrounding future trading conditions created by Brexit and the talk of trade wars, it will pay dividends to consider the markets for your combinable crops.

Speaker Cecilia Pryce, Head of Compliance, research and Shipping, Openfield

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