Yorkshire farmer, Mark Denness, has received the BASIS Paul Singleton award for his work on seed treatments and the reduction of the use of pesticides and artificial nitrogen.
Mr Denness was presented with the award at Cereals 2023 after achieving the highest number of marks for the research element of the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection course. He said: “I’ve always been interested in how to encourage early crop vigour and wanted to find out more about the environmental benefits of seed treatments on wheat compared with an overall pesticide spray application.
“The project outlined the reasons for seed treatment use and how biostimulant treatments can be beneficial for nutrient uptake and rooting. I also investigated their benefits as part of integrated pest management (IPM) programme.”
The project consisted of drilled plots with three different seed treatments. Visual comparisons, plant counts, foliage and root weights were all made to assess the benefits and cost implications of each of the treatments. The overall results showed that seed treatments offer tested and regulated improvements for germination, rooting, and foliage – while also boosting an all-round ear disease protection.
Commenting on how his BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection supports him in his profession, Mr Denness said: “It really helps me understand the chemical options for weed control and disease prevention and also helps with decision making and timing of spray applications.”
The runner-up prize went to Sam Stevens who works as an agronomist at Southern England Farms and runs his family’s cattle at home as well as playing rugby for Redruth and Cornwall.
Both Mr Denness and Mr Stevens received their training from Debbie Wedge.
Mr Denness trained with Mrs Wedge through Landbased Training (York), while Mr Stevens trained in Cornwall, via Debbie Wedge Ltd, on a course which was organised for the region by Ashley Jones.
Ms Wedge said: “Both of these projects were excellent; Mark’s was so relevant because everyone in the industry is increasingly looking at the importance of IPM and sustainability. It was also great to have delivered the course in Cornwall that Sam was on. This was a first in the county for BASIS and made it a lot easier for people in the South West area to access and improve their skills.”.
For more information on BASIS training courses, visit: www.basis-reg.co.uk