“Smart agronomy is one of the best ways to get your money back,” says Ian Wilson, who runs Tulloch Farms, near Laurenskirk. His thoughts are quoted by Potatoes News.
“I think that we farmers often underestimate the time spent on agronomy, but the hours spent in the office planning the structure of the fields are a guarantee of return on investment. I'd rather pay someone to ride a tractor so I can really think about this aspect of the business."
For the past six years, Ian has managed a 2000 acre mixed farm owned by Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Standard. The farm has 1650 acres of winter barley, oilseed rape, oats and winter wheat, and has 250 permanently grazing dairy cows.
“When a tractor salesman shows you a tractor, you don't just buy it. You doubt the pros and cons, and it should be the same with chemicals. Thanks to Scottish Agronomy, I have all the technical data from the tests that the cooperative is conducting, as well as the knowledge and experience of an agronomist to help me make informed decisions.”
Seeking to reschedule planting from mid-September to cope with the workload, Ian has decided to conduct on-farm trials and is working with Scottish Agronomy to early plant seven different popular wheat varieties. He planted a hectare of each on the first day of September in the same field, and will apply the same technology throughout the year to see better performance next season.
Ian is part of the agronomy group Scottish Agronomy Laurencekirk, and he credits the discussions at the kitchen table - and now on Zoom - to a new perspective on investing and where to save money:
“The knowledge that local farmers shared with me was invaluable when moving to an area that I did not know. I am very lucky to be part of a group that includes such active, visionary and businesslike people. I have learned a lot from them. It made me more ambitious and willing to try new things."
According to the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC), almost half of the UK's arable land is currently managed by independent agronomists, and this area is expected to increase as Brexit progresses and new agricultural policies are introduced.