Cereals: The Arable Event


Stand 919

In addition to the tours of AHDB Recommended List (RL) variety plots for oilseed rape, stand 919 also includes fungicide performance plots to showcase the efficacy of commercial fungicides. There will also be an RL update seminar at 15:10 on both event days in the main AHDB marquee. This will describe exciting changes to the RL protocols and focus on oilseed rape. This year, AHDB also features its sclerotinia infection risk forecasting service too.

The expert: Tim Isaac – Head of Knowledge Exchange, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds

Tim IsaacTim grew up on a small livestock farm, but after studying Agricultural Business Management at Wye College, he embarked on a career as an arable business consultant and agricultural valuer. Over the next twenty years, he became a specialist advisor on the management of arable farms, contracting arrangements and joint ventures. He joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds in 2013 with responsibility for developing the Monitor Farm programme in East Anglia. Building on this success, he was appointed Head of Knowledge Exchange in 2016.


Stand 635

See and discuss oilseed rape varieties and get agronomic advice, including tools to help with pest control and advice on disease control. Find out how choosing a high oil content variety can help maximise returns and how to improve consistency.


Stand 3042

Peter Bristow will be on the stand to discuss all aspects on what the rape plant needs and how the new precision strip till angled disc rape drill will save time, ensure a quick establishment and encourage an early straight long tap root.

Benefits of the new technology that will change the way rape seeds are sown include:

  • Soil loosened to a depth of 250mm with very little top soil disturbance
  • Multi Tooth Tiller Roll cultivates, mixes, fills in soils and air pockets
  • Angled discs and coulters seeding opposite each other retain the lifted soil as opposed to seeding an open slot
  • Drilling each side of slot ensures a quick canopy which helps with blackgrass control
  • Precision scraped flat roll with extreme spring pressure provides perfect depth control sealing in all available moisture at point of drilling
  • Flat surface helps prevent the soil from drying out and helps with slug control
  • One pass seed bed no need to roll


Find out more

The Expert: Peter Bristow

Peter BristowPeter has been farming for over 25 years.  We as farmers face different challenges each year and are constantly looking for cost savings and more reliable ways to establish our crops.

Some of the problems our fellow farmers face each year are difficulties in producing good seed beds due to lack of good consolidation leaving open slots and air pockets, unable to get good seed to soil contact which means it is difficult to retain moisture, consequently results in an uneven establishment having to wait for a further rain which can result in loss of seed to plant percentage and slow vigour which gives more time for the flea beetle and slugs to damage the young plants and slow tap root growth which is important during autumn.


Stand 629

DSV will be covering the development of oilseed rape over the years and how to achieve the best returns. Oilseed rape is a crop set to really take off this year with stronger prices and new variety traits. This will be demonstrated with variety choice, seedbed preparation, pest/disease control with reduced chemistry, fertilisation and optimum harvesting.

The experts: Dr Alexander Doering & John Sweatman

Dr Alexander Doering

Dr Alexander DoeringOn both show days, our International Product Manager Dr Alexander Doering will be in attendance. Dr Doering completed his PhD in Agricultural Sciences and his thesis on insects in winter OSR. He is based in Germany and has been product manager there for more than 5 years. He is responsible for DSV’s portfolio of oilseed rape in Western Europe.



John Sweatman

John SweatmanOn the Wednesday we will also have our UK trial manager, John Sweatman, on the stand. He is renowned for consistently producing extremely high yields at his trial site. John has been working in the industry for many years and has a wealth of knowledge to share to ensure growers receive the best advice for their particular farm.





Our UK based BASIS and FACTS qualified staff will also be on hand to answer any questions that may arise.

Elsoms Seeds

Stand 641

Oilseed Rape – talk by Mark Nightingale, the breeder about Elgar, the variety with the highest gross output on the AHDB RL. He will also discuss Keider, new candidate variety for the North, and also Skye.

The Expert: Mark Nightingale – Elsoms Seeds, Trials and Technical Manager

Mark NightingaleMark obtained his degree in Applied Biology in 1986 which is also the year he joined Elsoms Seeds as a Purification Officer.

In 2005 he completed his Masters Degree in Applied Biology and Plant Breeding specialising in Double haploid production, which was put to good use as he took on the role of Oilseed Rape breeder in the same year. 

Mark successfully bred the top yielding Winter Oilseed Rape variety Elgar, which was added to the Recommended list in 2016.

He is now Elsoms Technical Specialist in Oilseed rape, Linseed, Fodder beet and Vining Peas.


Stand 445

Meet the breeders and commercial teams involved in selecting and marketing OSR specifically for UK growers – special attention this year will be on KWS’s new conventional rapes which offer excellent gross output potential along with some of the best disease resistance combinations.

The Expert – John Miles

John MilesSon of a Hampshire farm manager, from the age of 13 John spent most school holidays lambing or working in the field so it was a logical step to move on to study agriculture and crops. Attending Harper Adams helped hone his interest in agronomy and after graduating he joined KWS as a breeding assistant.

John then moved into the trials department to become a trails officer and then field operations manager in charge of inputs.

For over 5 years now John has brought his technical skills into the commercial department where he’s responsible for large scale commercial trials and communicating best growing practices across to the trade, consultant agronomists and farmers in everything from technical literature to open days and on to the press. 

“I still love getting outside – each year, is different and it is good to catch up with what is happening on farm, filtering out and passing on the best advice to our stakeholders”.


Stand 914

See plots of Limagrain's current varieties and visit the new Innovation Zone, which demonstrates key traits introduced by breeders in recent years, leading to step changes in OSR performance for clubroot, TuYV (Turnip Yellows Virus) resistance and pod shatter tolerance.

Dr Vasilis Gegas (MSc, CM, PhD), Limagrain UK’s Head of Oilseeds Breeding, and members of his team will be on-hand at the event to chat with growers and answer any burning questions they may have.

The Experts: Les Daubney & Dr Vasilis Gegas

Les Daubney

Les DaubneyLes Daubney graduated from Sheffield University in 1979 with a BSc honours degree in Animal & Plant Biology. He returned to his holiday job with John Waring (Grain) Ltd whilst applying for a range of jobs with plant breeders (including Nickerson) and government agencies, such as ADAS. In the meantime he was offered the opportunity to manage the company’s newly acquired seed plant and so entered the seed trade.

Over a 10 year period, Les was responsible for all aspects of seed production for the company, until it entered receivership in 1989. At this time, Les joined Dalgety (now Agrii), at Bracebridge Heath, where he enjoyed 16 years of service, with a wide range of responsibilities including; sales support, seed contracting, and seed packing and distribution.

In 2006, Les joined Nickerson (now Limagrain UK Ltd) with a dual-role placing seed production contracts and coordinating the company’s vining pea activities. In 2009, Les became the Pulse and Oilseed product manager and a year later assumed full responsibility for the Vining Pea crop.

In 2015, Les relinquished responsibility for the Pulse and Vining pea crops but assumed product management of the cereal portfolio. A year later he was promoted to Marketing Director, Arable Seeds.

Throughout his career, a strong background in genetics, mycology and botany has been central to a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of plant breeding. Communication of the benefits of varietal characteristics and traits has been honed throughout his career by a close association with sales teams, agronomists and farmers and by having a clear understanding of their needs.

Les will be on Limagrain UK Stand 914, on both days of the Cereals event.

Dr Vasilis Gegas

Vasilis GegasDr Vasilis Gegas is the Limagrain Senior Oilseed Rape Breeder for the Maritime zone, based at the company’s UK headquarters in Lincolnshire.

After completing a BSc Hons in Plant Biology and Crop Production in his home country, Greece, he undertook an MSc on Plant Genetic Manipulation at the University of Nottingham. Dr Gegas completed his PhD at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at John Innes Centre, where he combined phenomics, quantitative genetics and environmental modelling to decipher the mechanisms that underpin leaf development in the model Brassica species Arabidopsis.

He subsequently jointed the Department of Crop Genetics at John Innes Centre, as a post-doctoral research fellow, to work on the genetics of wheat grain development, with emphasis on the genetic components that determine grain shape and size in modern wheat varieties and ancestral species.

Dr Gegas has been actively involved in numerous industry-academia projects (BBSRC, LINK, Innovate UK) on subjects ranging from plant nutrition to plant pathogens and pests. He is currently the co-supervisor of several PhD students in collaborative projects with UK universities and he chairs the stakeholder forum for OREGIN. Dr Gegas has published in leading research journals, such as The Plant Cell and The Plant Journal, and he has contributed chapters in two books.

Vasilis will be on Limagrain UK Stand 914, on one day of the Cereals event.


Stand 637

Thirty years of ground-breaking OSR breeding has enabled DEKALB to become the number one partner of choice for farmers across Europe. DEKALB is committed to bringing innovative, quality solutions to all our partners. At Cereals, Monsanto will be demonstrating its latest innovative varieties in small plots covering all key technology segments within OSR breeding, including:

  • Clearfield herbicide tolerant varieties to manage problem weeds and erucic acid contamination;
  • HOLL varieties for premium food oil production;
  • Clubroot, light leaf spot and double phoma resistant varieties for yield protection;
  • Pod shatter resistant varieties to minimise seed losses and volunteer problems; and
  • Next generation low biomass varieties for lower cost/lower hassle OSR management.


Our leading team of breeders, technical specialists and regional managers will be on hand to discuss current and future OSR production challenges and developments.     

The experts:

Matthew Clarke, WOSR Breeder

Matthew Clarke37 years experience in plant breeding
WOSR Breeder for 20 years
Introduced RLm7 canker resistance to the European WOSR Crop
Chaired and participated in many academic projects related to the development of the UK crop
Past chairman of BSPB Oilseed Crop Group
Past BSPB representative on HGCA RL Committee
Knowledge and interest in all aspects of the European OSR crop, including: Commercial varieties (past and present), new developments in plant breeding, agronomic traits and disease resistance


Will Vaughn-France, Technical specialist

Will Vaugham-FranceTechnical specialist for Oilseed Rape with Dekalb
Been with Monsanto for 5 ½ years
Prior to Monsanto was a Business Consultant with Agribusiness consultancy Bidwells advising farming, supply chain and food businesses.
From a farming background and still looks after Agronomy and actively involved in home farm in Somerset


Anders Reppien Christensen, Technical Development and Agronomy

Anders ChristensenJoined Monsanto Nordics in a part time role as a Field Technician in June 2014
Been working for Monsanto UK as a Technical Development and Agronomy
Responsible for the UK WOSR variety trial system as well as for the testing of biologicals in the UK.  


Stand 829

Successfully growing oilseed rape is becoming ever more challenging when faced with the loss of neonicotinoids and other crop protection products, the potential for erucic acid contamination and the impacts of EU biofuel policy on vegetable oil markets. Guy Gagen, Chief Arable Adviser, along with other staff members will be available on the NFU stand 829 to discuss the NFU’s work on crop protection. Find out how you can get involved to ensure farmers have access to all parts of the crop protection toolbox, as well as the steps you should be taking to mitigate against erucic acid contamination in your rapeseed this harvest.

The expert: Guy Gagen, NFU Chief Arable Adviser

Guy GagenAs Chief Arable Adviser, Guy has been the National Farmers’ Union national policy lead for cereals, oilseeds and protein crops sector advice to members, staff, officeholders and directors since 2005.  Within NFU he is responsible for management of combinable crops team and farmer representative combinable crops board http://www.nfuonline.com/sectors/crops/

Main activities include lobbying on legislative and commercial issues affecting farming businesses including grain contracts and how science and agriculture connect.

Before joining NFU Guy was Agricultural Economist at the British Potato Council and previously ADAS Arable and Business management Consultant in South East England.  He graduated from the University of Reading in 1996 with a B.Sc. in Agriculture (Hons) and attended school in NSW Australia.


Stand 620

NIAB TAG will be providing the latest advice and research in independent agronomy, crop genetics and data science with a focus on future developments and the role of technology, including:

Plant disease research and new diagnostic techniques in oilseed rape and field beans (includes demonstration plots); variety demonstration plots - providing expert advice on winter wheat variety choice for 2017 with thirty established and new varieties plus 15 winter oilseed rape varieties with information on variety choice for spring oilseed rape, linseed, peas and beans and understanding the risk factors for black-grass control in winter oilseed rape, winter wheat and spring cereals (includes demonstration plots).

The experts:

Providing expert advice on winter and spring oilseed rape and linseed varieties with a range of variety demonstration plots. Advice and information from:

Simon Kightley

Simon KightleySimon has been NIAB’s oilseed rape crop expert since 1990, having previously worked on both vegetable and fodder crops. The routine focus of his activities is on variety testing and advice on variety selection to growers. Over the last ten years he has also worked on agronomy experiments, including studies on seed rate, nitrogen inputs and fungicide response. Now, because of the threat to the oilseed rape crop from cabbage stem flea beetles since the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban, he is heavily engaged with experiments to improve crop establishment using companion crops. Simon has also worked on the nutritional value of rapeseed meal and the ‘Yield Plateau’ project. He is a Board Member of the GCIRC, the global organisation for oilseed rape research.

Plant disease research and new diagnostic techniques in oilseed rape (includes demonstration plots). Advice and information from:

Dr Jane Thomas

Jane ThomasHead of Plant Pathology and Field Crops Research at NIAB Jane is a plant pathologist by training, with research interests in pathogen diagnostics, evaluating cultivar resistance and integrated disease management. She has expertise across a range of arable, horticultural and forage crops, with a focus on oilseed and pulses. In addition to her role leading plant pathology, she has responsibility for NIAB’s crop variety specialisms and associated research.



Dr Tom Wood

Tom WoodTom works as part of the pathology group at NIAB as a molecular plant pathologist. He manages a range of research activities and commercial trials, with a broad interest in plant pathology, crop improvement and developing DNA based diagnostic strategies for plant pathogen detection. His current work focuses on pathogens affecting oilseed rape, especially Verticillium longisporum, and also the genetic improvement of faba bean (Vicia faba).



Understanding the risk factors for black-grass control in winter oilseed rape (includes demonstration plots). Advice and information from:

John Cussans

John CussansJohn 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. John 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. He is responsible for NIAB TAG’s National Black-grass Research Centre near Cambridge, supported by its sister site at Wragby in Lincolnshire. Alongside research into traditional cultural and chemical techniques, research is also looking at more radical control methods including inter-row spraying, herbicide synergists and nano-technology.

Stuart Knight

Stuart KnightDeputy 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.


Stand 802

Success with growing oilseed comes from excellent crop establishment, ensuring the development of an optimum canopy size that is durable through to harvest. Our agronomists can take the grower through:

  • The role placing nutrients at drilling has on crop establishment
  • The role late foliar applied nutrients have in yield enhancement.


Event Partners