"Give a man a reputation as an early riser, and he can sleep ’til noon." Mark Twain
The uplift in cattle prices of recent weeks slowed in week ended 11th May read more
With more new season lambs entering the market, the dynamics of the trade have started to change read more
Provisional data for April milk deliveries of approximately 1,111m litres are 93m litres (7.7%) down on the previous year read more
In April, the DAPP averaged 160.9p/kg, almost 4p up on the month. At the same time, the average retail price came down by a small amount read more
The GB weekly average price fell by £7.68/t to £295.35/t and the free-buy average fell by £22.02/t to £368.39/t. read more
The first USDA estimates for world production in 2013-14 forecast record maize and wheat production, citing larger planted areas and a rebound in yields from the US (maize) and the Former Soviet Union (wheat) read more
The USDA has released its first soyabean supply and demand estimates for the new season read more
UK malting barley export prices are at €245/t FOB (spring, South Coast) w/e 11th April. read more
The latest National Statistics produced by Defra on the activity of UK hatcheries and poultry slaughterhouses. read more
USDA’s latest quarterly stocks report, released on 28th September, estimated US maize stocks (at 1st September) at 25.1m t, down 12% on the same point in 2011 and the lowest since 2004. read more
Iona Walton discusses the establishment and assessment of standards in the pesticides industry with BASIS managing director Rob Simpson
Networking will continue to be integral to the success that BASIS has had in ensuring the pesticide industry receives the training it needs. Managing director Rob Simpson says that through communication with individuals and groups, this independent organisation that establishes and assesses standards in the pesticide industry, realises what is required within the industry.
“Internal committees comprising experts from all sides of the industry, such as the Education and Training Committee and the Professional Matters Committee, enable us to glean next steps that need to be taken in terms of pesticide storage and transport and the competence of staff,” Mr Simpson says.
As far as continuing professional development (CPD) goes, BASIS acts as a facilitator, standing apart from the training so it can examine it with clear objectivity and no bias.
“We are not involved in the delivery of training, but enable it to happen through setting up courses and exams,” he explains. “BASIS-approved trainers (including both individuals and colleges such as James Christian-Illett, DJL Agronomics, Harper Adams University College and the Scottish Agricultural College) are a diverse bunch and they complete the training.”
Agronomists should not expect to see major changes from BASIS this year in terms of the points system for the BASIS Professional Register. While the balance of points required is reorganised periodically, such as when greater emphasis was placed on health and safety in the amenity sector in 2000 or the introduction of biodiversity and environmental issues in 2003, there are no plans afoot for further changes at this stage. But more courses will certainly be on the agenda.
“We look at what’s going on in terms of both research and development and the issues affecting the farming industry and introduce courses accordingly,” outlines Mr Simpson. “Recent additions to our portfolio are the Soil and Water Management Course and the Biodiversity and Environmental Training for Advisers (BETA) Course that tackles biodiversity and cross compliance. Also the recently published Sustainable Use Directive will mean changes for agronomists – such as the focus on IPM methods and techniques.”
January 2010 saw the launch of an advanced course covering plant nutrient management that the fertiliser industry is responsible for promoting, which will be attended by FACTS-qualified advisers, the aim of which is to maintain the high standards already achieved by this group.
“Next on the agenda is a foundation level award for amenity and agriculture that can be used as an introduction to the BASIS certificate or as a stand-alone qualification,” explains Mr Simpson. “This is geared towards those selling and supplying professional products but not giving advice, dealers and counter or telephone salespeople for example, and it is expected to be four to six days long.”
All BASIS courses and exams are accredited on the higher education qualifications framework that can be mapped to the new European Framework. The standard of qualifications is high. All courses are credited at levels 5 and 6, equating to honours degree standard.
Agronomists can work towards the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy, building up credits that can be used for the new Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management offered by Harper Adams University College.
“In the future it will be important to be able to show, when challenged, that the standards of training and certification in the agricultural industry (particularly for agronomists) is robust and rigorous,” Mr Simpson says. “We have some of the highest standards for vocational training and achievement of any UK industry.”
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