Hertfordshire / Bedfordshire crop advisor successfully completes two years of training 13 September 2016
A Hertfordshire / Bedfordshire agronomist has successfully completed a two-year training programme to equip him to help local arable farmers respond to some of their key technical challenges when growing crops. Matthew Kettlewell, who is himself a former farm manager for a fresh produce company, completed the training programme with agronomy firm ProCam, which has its headquarters in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. He joined ProCam two years ago.
Since then, as part of his training, Matthew has gone on to gain an Arable BASIS qualification, allowing him to advise on crop protection in arable crops, and a FACTS qualification, allowing him to advise on fertiliser use. Both of these to add to his existing vegetable qualifications.
“It’s an exciting time for arable production,” explains Matthew, who works with farmers in both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
“Yes, there are challenges. But as a former farm manager I can empathise with the challenges farmers face and offer practical ideas to help.
“As well as the big issue of dealing with the major weed of black-grass in the area – for example by adapting cultivations and cropping – another key challenge is the increased difficulty of controlling the major yield-robbing wheat disease of Septoria tritici. However, we now have an exciting ability to respond by embracing new winter wheat varieties offering improved resistance.
“As well as giving a firm foundation for fungicide programmes, these could also offer farmers easier management – for example by giving a greater safety net if spraying is slightly delayed.”