Barley Barley Crop Icon Brassicas Brassicas Crop Icon Sugar Beet Sugar Beet Carrots Carrots Icon Leeks Leek Icon Maize Maize Icon Oilseed Oilseed Icon Onions Onions Icon Other Cereals Other Cereals Icon O R T Peas And Beans Peas and beans Icon Potatoes Potatoes Icon Salad Crops Salad Crops Icon Soft Fruits Crops Soft Fruits Icon Top Fruits Crops Top Fruits Icon Wheat Crops Wheat Icon Calendar Calendar icon Arrow Next Arrow Previous Close Checkmark

Welcome to the first part of a series of blogs as I document my first year as a regional technical agronomist working within the field trials group of Bayer CropScience. As a bit of background, trials agronomists within Bayer work regionally throughout the country and I have been fortunate enough to have been located in the beautiful county of Oxfordshire.

Having completed a degree in Agriculture with Business studies at Aberystwyth University I started my career in June of this year. While at University I spent a year in industry working with Bayer as an assistant agronomist between March and September last year. This gave me a great insight into the world of trials and how Bayer as a company operates. I was then lucky enough to be offered my own region on completion of my degree.  The first task was to complete the harvest of those trials already in the ground which had been started by my predecessor. Some difficult weather conditions at times meant that harvest was slightly delayed within the region and the unpredictability of the weather made planning almost impossible. The summer raced past with harvest and autumn drilling virtually running into one another and so now begins my first full year coordinating my own trials.

I am fortunate working in Oxfordshire to have a great network of farmers in the area who have been more than happy to accommodate field trials. This autumn my trials allocation is largely based around herbicide trials as well as some oilseed rape work thrown into the mix for good measure. I am now starting to see higher levels of disease and pest pressure across the trials.

With much of the winter cereal drilling compete, last week I was able to spray two pre-emergence trials targeting blackgrass which is of high concern within some part of the area. Following the now routine practice of later drilling and stale seedbeds by many growers this meant marking out the trial area in a commercially drilled crop as soon as the rolls had been over. This was done to prevent any other pre-emergence applications being put on the trial area by the host farmer which could affect the efficacy of my treatments.

JW Trials 1
Typical autumn field trial in a cereal crop with plots running perpendicular to the direction of drilling.

The focus of the last few weeks has been on completing carrot harvest and getting post- emergence applications on at the right timing. This has meant dodging downpours and whatever else the Great British weather threw at us! I have also recently started the BASIS Foundation course so there will be plenty of chances for application of what is being learned within the classroom.