Meet our team who can help you get the training you need.
Head of the TAG Consulting Ltd
Chris is Head of the TAG Consulting Ltd business, a wholly owned subsidiary of the NIAB TAG group. The company specialises in providing one to one agronomic advice to farmers and growers. Chris has over 30 years’ experience in the agronomic and farm business management sector, providing strategic, systems and management advice to a portfolio of farmer clients. His areas of work include:Identify sustainable, profitable farming systems and strategies, and identifying efficient use of farm resources.Running budgetary control systems with clients and making best use of farm data.Managing contract farming arrangements between parties.Supporting farm applications for stewardship schemes.Preparing farm diversification business plans and grant funding applications.
Project Manager, Farm Carbon Toolkit
Becky joined FCT in January 2014. Prior to this, Becky worked on the SWARM Knowledge Hub, a project tasked with helping farmers and growers across the South West manage their resources sustainably. As part of the SWARM Hub project, Becky was part of the team that developed the Farm Crap App, a mobile phone app to help farmers calculate the nutritive value of livestock manures.A passionate advocate for highlighting the economic benefits of sustainable farming, Becky currently divides her time between working for FCT and working for Duchy College Rural Business School as a technical specialist in resource management. In 2016 Becky was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study further how to communicate carbon reduction schemes to farmers, which has fed into her work at FCT and Duchy College
East Regional Agronomist
Andrew is the NIAB TAG Eastern Regional Agronomist involved with technical services to members in the East of England. His background is independent agronomy with 25 years’ experience across Norfolk and Suffolk, including 13 years running his own consultancy and training business, Watson Agronomy Ltd. He also served as the chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) for four years, as well as director for nutritional and legislative affairs. Andrew is an experienced trainer and speaker with previous BASIS accreditation for several agronomic courses and has spoken at many events both domestically and internationally.
Head of Farming Systems Research, NIAB
Dr Elizabeth Stockdale is Head of Farming Systems Research at NIAB. Trained as a soil scientist, she is often found enjoying herself in holes in the ground at farming events. She has over 20 year’s experience of research and knowledge exchange in nutrient cycling, soil management and fertiliser recommendation. She currently leads the AHDB-BBRO Research Partnership in Soil Biology and Soil Health which is developing practical tools and information for farmers and growers.
Research Associate, NIAB
Sarah is a research associate in the NIAB Potatoes group focusing on crop development and physiology. She was awarded her PhD funded by CUPGRA from the University of Cambridge in 2020 on capturing variation in canopy development and understanding how agronomic practices affect canopy growth. Since then, Sarah has worked on a range of AHDB storage projects including investigating how differences in commercial seed storage affect crop field performance, varying patterns of MH application to optimise tuber residue levels, and comparing inherent dormancy between varieties. Other projects include understanding variation in optimum nitrogen rates in the CUPGRA-funded Reference Crop, linking detailed measurements of leaf appearance to canopy growth and running the Seed Rate Model.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ALLIUM & BRASSICA CENTRE
Andy is Managing Director of the Allium & Brassica Centre (ABC), an independent consultancy company specialising in all aspects of leek, bulb onion and horticultural brassica production and storage. Andy has been involved with numerous AHDB and DEFRA funded research projects. He regularly trains on BASIS/FACTS courses, authors/edits five Assured Produce protocols, is a member of the British Onions R&D committee and is Technical Co-ordinator for the Brassica Growers Association.
Bryce Rham has been an independent agronomist in the west midlands since 1991 (Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire) and provides agronomy advice for his clients covering 10000 ha (primarily combinable crops along with a small area of F Beet and maize). Throughout his career Bryce has ensured that he has continued his education within agriculture and as such was one of the first agronomists in the UK to hold The Basis Diploma in Agronomy. He was awarded the Farmers Weekly Arable Adviser of the Year award in 2008.
Break crop specialist
Colin has previously worked as a distributor agronomist and a farm manager for a large farm management organisation before moving on to work as Head of Farms for BBSRC, based at Rothamsted Research.As NIAB's break crop specialist he provides specialist technical and scientific knowledge on the evaluation, selection and management of crop varieties, focusing on break crops including oilseed rape, linseed, pulses, sugar beet and other minor crops. As part of the role he helps coordinate the break crop trials programmes, working with staff across NIAB.The crop specialist team, together with the regional teams, prepare information to help with knowledge exchange by presenting at meetings, delivering demonstrations at trial sites and national events. The team looks to develop contract research activities, particularly for break crops, by liaising with industry organisations and commercial companies as well as supporting the delivery of internal and external training on break crops and their management.
Head of Cambridge HQ Trials Delivery Team
Hannah has a BSc in Agriculture and has worked at NIAB for over 15 years in a number of field trials related roles. During her career Hannah has worked on a wide range of combinable crops, sugar beet and potatoes. She is currently responsible for the extensive range of field trials and demonstrations run from the Cambridge centre. This includes the provision of specialist plots for potato seed crop inspector training. Hannah has been running practical field based training courses in potato variety and disease identification for a number of years for both UK and overseas delegates.
Senior Specialist-Crop Protection and Agronomy
A molecular plant pathologist by training, Aoife has broad ranging experience in crop protection research, agronomy and knowledge transfer in the arable and horticulture crop sectors. Her PhD conducted with Teagasc investigated novel sources of resistance to Septoria tritici in wheat and the model grass species Brachypodium distachyon. She has since held roles in agrochemical regulatory science and as a field vegetable pathologist with ADAS, achieving her BASIS Certificate in Commercial Horticulture in 2018. At NIAB, she works to identify and build cross-cutting relationships between fundamental and applied research programmes to deliver the best IPM strategies onto farm. Her research interests centre around development of integrated disease management strategies for broadacre crops and ecologically-based tactics for better IPM; incorporating detailed studies on fungal, pest and plant populations with field experimentation and on-farm trialling.
Farming Systems and Soils Specialist
Nathan Morris studied for a PhD in Plant Sciences at the University of Reading looking at establishing arable crops in UK cereal stubbles using strip tillage. Nathan now works at NIAB as the Farming Systems and Soils Specialist. He is actively involved in their knowledge exchange and farmer training activities, so his research reaches end users rapidly. Nathan’s particular interests and expertise include developing farming systems to improve soil structure and stability whist maintaining crop productivity. Nathan is a full member of The British Society of Soil Science and the International Fertiliser Society.
Research Agronomist, NIAB
Joseph is a research agronomist at NIAB, with a mixed background in academia as a soil scientist and in industry as a commercial agronomist. Joseph has a strong interest in how farm management approaches may be brought together into farming systems to increase the sustainability and resilience of food production. He is also FACTS and BASIS qualified.
SENIOR LECTURER, HARPER ADAMS UNIVERSITY
Paul Lewis is a Senior Lecturer in the Crop and Environment Sciences Department of Harper Adams University. Paul has a trials background but has more recently built up a portfolio of training that runs alongside student teaching and project supervision. He is FACTS qualified, a member of the BASIS Professional Register and a BASIS Approved Trainer, mainly delivering FACTS, Soil & Water Management and Nutrient Management Planning courses. Paul is also responsible for training Environment Agency officers and Natural England's Catchment Sensitive Farming officers in soils and agricultural regulation.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NIAB
Stuart Knight is Deputy Director of NIAB. With a background in agronomy, Stuart’s responsibilities include field crop research, technical services and knowledge exchange. He leads a number of research projects, and his interests include combinable crop husbandry; management of soil and fertiliser nutrients; monitoring and control of cereal fungal diseases; evaluation of new crop protection chemicals; managing within-field variation; decision support; and the impact of farming systems and management practices on farm performance.
AGRONOMIST AND TECHNICAL CONSULTANT
Liz Johnson is an independent agronomist and technical consultant with 19 years experience in the Salads industry, having previously worked for G’s as their Farms’ Technical Director. She is BASIS/FACTS registered, has achieved the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy and is currently involved in the BASIS Crop Protection and Foundation courses, delivering the training on Salads. She is also involved with BLSA (British Leafy Salads Association) and BLGA (Baby Leaf Growers Association) R&D groups and represents Salads on the HDC Vegetable Panel.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Wageningen University & Research Associate, NIAB
Katharina is a plant physiologist with a particular interest in plant stress responses. For her PhD she worked on drought stress responses in potatoes in collaboration between Lancaster University and NIAB. Her field of expertise is closely linked with challenges arising due to climate change. Hence, she is interested in innovative ways to make potato production more sustainable. Katharina is working at Wageningen University as postdoctoral researcher in vertical farming and remains connected to NIAB in the function of a research consultant.
Phil attained a BSc with honours in Agriculture from Seale-Hayne College. He has over 25 years of experience providing technical advice and training to farmers and other industry professionals. Phil is primarily a combinable crop agronomist, with experience in other crops, including grassland and ecological land management. He has broad experience as a trainer having worked on many projects, some commercially funded and some government funded and therefore has good knowledge of agricultural policy and science.
Owner of Stewardship Ltd
Steve is the owner of Stewardship Ltd, a company offering training and advice on the responsible use of crop protection products. He has trained over 1,000 farm operators in the safe use of granular soil insecticides, and working with the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has taught many to use metaldehyde responsibly. He has an interest in water protection, and his work in this area has included promoting best practice within the VI Pilot Catchments, chairing Stewardship Groups to raise awareness of the issues, and instigating and managing the Cherwell Study which researched the routes by which surface-water can be contaminated with isoproturon.
Derek is an independent consultant specialising in protected salad crops - mainly cucumbers and tomatoes. He authored/edits three Assured Produce protocols and provides solution culture nutrition to a number of growers in the UK and internationally. He is also the Cucumber Growers’ Association technical officer, sits on the technical committee of the Tomato Growers Association, is a member of the Tomato Study Group, the Green Expert Platform (Holland) and after a long period on the AHDB Protected Crops Panel is now one of their scientific advisors. He is BASIS and FACTS registered, HACCP trained and has provided NRoSO training courses.
Dr Michelle Fountain
Research Leader, Entomologist, Soil Ecologist, Fruit Pest Entomologist - NIAB EMR
My interests primarily revolve around the minimisation of pesticide use in fruit horticulture, improving pollination in fruit crops and incorporating modern fruit growing practices with Integrated Pest Management. The former includes research on improving pest monitoring by developing pheromone monitoring traps, optimising the use of biological control agents and enhancing and fostering local ecology to provide the ecosystem service of pest control. Pollination research is mainly focused around the identification and enhancement of key insect pollinators of a range of UK grown fruit crops including blackcurrant, apple, pear and strawberry. I lead research into invasive pest species, such as, Drosophila suzukii. My taxonomic skills include the identification of Collembola, Araneae and fruit crop fauna. I communicate research to growers and presents papers at national and international conferences. I am involved in the publication of best practice guides.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL
Ian is Managing Director of the Practical Solutions International, an independent consultancy company specialising in sustainable, ethical and safe food production. Ian headed up the work at Sainsbury’s on pesticides for many years and was a member of the Pesticide Residue Committee (now PRiF) for 8 years. More recently has been technical director for a number of fresh produce and cut flower companies. He is currently chair of the Fairtrade International Standards Committee.
WEED BIOLOGY SPECIALIST AND AGRONOMY KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
John has two roles at NIAB TAG: Weed Biology Specialist, responsible for managing research on weed biology, management and control; and Agronomy Knowledge Transfer Development Manager, involving development and promotion of knowledge transfer activities. He has a degree in Applied Plant Biology and worked on a range of weed projects at Rothamsted Research for 15 years prior to joining NIAB TAG. His most recent research project was ‘Sustaining winter cropping rotations under threat from herbicide resistant black-grass’ (HGCA funded, 2009-2014). He regularly speaks and trains at NIAB TAG Open Days and Agronomy Training Workshops.
Owner, Independent Consultancy
Jeremy Boot worked for DWP for 35 years, running a fraud team specialising in gangs and gangmasters from Spalding in Lincs. He sat on the ETI’s Temporary Workers committee then, and was part of Operation Gangmaster and inter-Departmental initiatives with Immigration and the DEFRA. Following the establishment of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority in 2004, he became their Head of Compliance and inspectorate until he retired in 2009. Continuing his interest in temporary agricultural labour, he started Independent Consultancy, undertaking private advisory and training work to producers and growers and farmers, big and small, and individuals. He joined ARTIS in 2016. He lives in Nottingham.”
Dr Richard H Binks
Independent Technical Consultant
Dr Richard Binks is an independent technical consultant specialising in the fresh produce industry. He has over 20 years of national and international experience in technical food management, providing support to farming and food businesses. His areas of specialism include protected crop production, Integrated Pest Management and food safety. He is also a visiting lecturer at Writtle College in Essex. Richard has a BSc in Applied Biological Sciences, and a PhD in nematology from the University of Reading, as well as being BASIS qualified. Richard is also the Chairman of the UK Pepper Technology Group and the British Cucumber Association.
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