Launched in September 2021, the BASIS Classroom has proved a popular means for agronomists and farmers to develop their knowledge and accrue continuing professional development (CPD) points to maintain their status on the BASIS Professional Register.
The latest course, launched in July, deals with the AHDB Recommended Lists (RL).
AHDB chose to join forces with BASIS in order to increase awareness of the increasingly varied ways in which RL data can be accessed and used thanks to constant innovation over recent years.
Dr Kathryn Hales, senior field trials data analyst for the cereals and oilseeds RLs at AHDB, explains how the well-known RL booklet, produced annually, has now been supplemented by online web tables, as well as an app.
Once downloaded this can be used anywhere, including while field walking, to provide interactive access to RL data.
There is also a variety selection tool to aid decision making when making cropping plans, while the harvest results service gives the latest harvest information to help finalise variety choice.
“Together these various initiatives make the RLs a serious management tool to use through the year.
“The aim has been to help users make the most of the vast amount of data generated by RL trials and to apply it on a specific farm by farm basis,” says Dr Hales.
Information in the RLs also provides assistance in IPM planning, an increasingly important aspect of agronomy.
The RL course is the latest of 14 online courses now available in the BASIS Classroom.
Many are free to access and use, thanks to sponsorship.
BASIS is also developing its own paid for courses.
The Principles of Sustainable Land Management looks at an integrated approach to farm and environmental land management.
There is also the FACTS nutrient use efficiency refresher developed to support FACTS Qualified Advisers in the 22/23 online assessment to maintain their status on the professional register.
The BASIS Classroom also hosts 11 webinars dealing with subjects as diverse as regenerative agriculture, produced in conjunction with Groundswell and the Sustainable Farming Incentive in collaboration with Defra.
Tanya Kesterton, BASIS head of digital learning, says: “The BASIS Classroom has quickly established itself as a new way to gain knowledge on a wide range of matters dealing with crop protection, crop nutrition, application practice, environmental matters and IPM.
“By the end of July some 9,400 courses have been completed with two particular peaks – first the quieter winter months, second in the run up to the end of the CPD year as professional register members seek the final CPD points they need to maintain their status.” And there is more to come.
At present, courses are being developed to deal with soil health and cultivations, crop spraying and buffer zones and drilling and establishment.
Access is open to all members of the BASIS Professional Register as well as trainees who are starting out in a career in agronomy and related topics.