Cereals: The Arable Event


Stand 919

Meet ‘Thorvald’ and scientists from the University of Lincoln as they operate the robotic platform. Built to perform a wide variety of agricultural tasks, including the monitoring of crops and soils, the lightweight autonomous unit provides a glimpse into the future of agriculture.

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.

Agility (Farmers Weekly)

Stand 826

Evidence-based production (EBP) is set to have a major impact on the productivity of agricultural supply chains.

Discover ‘Agility’, Proagrica’s data & analytics platform.  It enables evidence-based production – a method of farming that embraces technology and uses data for higher-yielding and more efficient farming practices.

The Expert: Alistair Knott, Proagrica Precision Agriculture Development Director

Alistair KnottAlistair Knott was brought up on a mixed farm in Scotland and attended West of Scotland Agriculture College. In the late 80’s he worked as arable manager on a 1000 Ha farm in Surrey before moving to a commercial sales role at Bunge Edible Oils in Liverpool. Upon acquisition of BEO by Cargill in 1993, Alistair spent 8 years as a trader managing a variety of commodities from OSR to Palm Oil and including European supply chain ingredient management for businesses such as Pepsico.

In 2001, Alistair moved internally to Cargill Agricultural Merchants and as Commercial Director worked with a small Senior Management Team that transformed the business from 6% market share to its present market leading position as Frontier Agriculture.

From 2005, Alistair also held a Non-Executive Director role for Cargill with F4F Agriculture, a global supply chain data integration business. In 2014, with agriculture embracing farm-based data as a new productivity tool for farmers, he joined F4F full-time as their Precision Agriculture Development Director. As F4F’s expertise and reputation in agri-data management grew, it was subsequently acquired by Reed Business Information in 2015. Alistair continues to work with all sectors of Agriculture for RBI under their Proagrica brand to access and leverage data that can undoubtedly increase productivity and profitability for farmers.


Stand 926

The management and preservation of Healthy Soil combined with Omnia’s Precision Agronomy approach to crop husbandry are at the heart of how Hutchinsons are helping farmer grow crops which can achieve the highest possible yield in the most cost effective way.  Our team of experts will be on hand at Cereals (stand 926) to share how these techniques can be applied to your farm and your cropping, focusing on individual fields and zones within fields.

The Experts:

Omnia expertsOur team of experts will be available to demonstrate the services we offer and how they can be used to assist you to be more effective in your approach to crop husbandry, as well as exploiting the technology that is now readily available on modern farm machinery. Available to discuss your specific needs will be:



Andy Hoyles - leading the Healthy Soils Programme – with a farming background and extensive knowledge of crop husbandry and crop nutrition

Dick Neale – a long term devotee of effective soil management - encouraging soil health as a priority on-farm activity alongside the management of pernicious weeds (e.g. resistant blackgrass)

Oliver Wood – leading the Precision Technology service – has extensive experience gained in modern agricultural machinery development and GPS applications, with a specific focus on how to make such innovation accessible on farm

Matt Ward - both agronomist and Omnia expert - is able to show where/how to apply digital knowledge and make it work (e.g. variable rate seed plans, variable nutrition plans etc).

John Deere

Stand 116

Want to increase your profitability and output? Then get connected with John Deere FarmSight and the latest dealer based precision farming services. Graphics and video displays illustrate how JDLink features such as remote display access and wireless data transfer, linked to your private MyJohnDeere.com website portal, can help improve your agronomic management and decision making, and optimise machinery performance and logistics.

The expert: David Purdy

David PurdyDavid Purdy is a keen and enthusiastic individual with a real passion for the technical and commercial aspects of arable & vegetable farming and with over 30 years’ experience, has developed himself to be a specialist in these areas. His particular interests and skills are in a number of key areas: water & irrigation management, precision farming technology, agronomy, soils and their biology, harvesting technologies, machinery optimization, no till seeding and precision farming software use. He is particularly focused and bringing science and technology together at the farm interface in a commercial and sustainable way. He has developed himself in these key areas both academically and with commercial experience. Within his current role he manages John Deere’s business in the eastern side of the country focusing in the arable and vegetable sectors. He has a keen interest in developing the seeding, application, harvesting and precision farming technologies.



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:

  1. Innovation in new fungicide chemistry, new strategies and the role of SDHIs alongside the future role of EU legislation post-Brexit. Compare wheat fungicide programme options in the plots and understand the value of resistant varieties
  2. Revolutionising arable crop breeding - new tools and technologies have the potential to transform arable crop breeding and arable farming. From GM to gene-editing, superwheat to MAGIC – find out how wheat breeding research, and the use of new techniques, is improving the yield, efficiency and resilience of UK crop production (includes demonstration plots);
  3. The latest developments on yellow rust and field pathogenomics with the NIAB UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey team(includes demonstration plots);
  4. Impact of technology on crop management, including the use of modelling tools, big data, crowd-sourcing and precision farming techniques. Includes the launch of ActivSmart, an interactive agrochemical product comparison tool, and niabnetwork.com, delivering on-farm agronomy services using integrated data analytics and cloud-based decision support systems;
  5. Plant disease research and new diagnostic techniques in oilseed rape and field beans (includes demonstration plots);


Staff include NIAB TAG regional agronomists (Andrew Watson, Richard Overthrow, Patrick Stephenson, Steve Cook), variety specialists (Simon Kightley, Clare Leaman), crop agronomy specialists and advisors (Bill Clark, Stuart Knight, John Cussans), soil management and farming systems scientists (Ron Stobart, Dr Mark Stalham, Dr Nathan Morris, Dr Lydia Smith), plant breeders and crop geneticists (Dr Alison Bentley, Dr Phil Howell, Dr Fiona Leigh, Dr Eric Ober) and plant pathologists (Dr Jane Thomas, Dr Sarah Holdgate, Dr Tom Wood).

The Experts:

Bill Clark

Bill ClarkNIAB Commercial Technical Director, Bill is a plant pathologist by training, with extensive experience in plant biology and applied plant science and a special interest in knowledge transfer. His expertise spans both horticultural and arable crop pathology and during the last 20 years, almost exclusively cereal disease control. He is a prominent public speaker on agricultural issues and has previously been Director of Broom’s Barn Research Centre (the UK’s national sugar beet research centre in Suffolk) and National Cereal Pathologist for ADAS.


Patrick Stephenson

Patrick StephensonPatrick is NIAB TAG’s Northern Regional Agronomist. A key aspect of his role is to ensure that members, particularly in the north, continue to benefit from the wealth of technical information and advice that NIAB TAG has to offer. An award-winning independent arable advisor, he is well-known throughout the region for his work on crop production and farm business management. He has over 25 years’ experience as an advisor, and was awarded Britain’s Agronomist of the Year 2001 by Crops Magazine and National Arable Advisor of the Year in 2007 by Farmers Weekly.


Steve Cook

Steve CookNIAB TAG’s Southern Regional Agronomist, Steve is also an independent agronomist and senior partner with Hampshire Arable Systems. In addition to his role at NIAB TAG, providing strategic agronomy advice and information to the membership, he has over 40 farmer agronomy clients covering over 12,000 ha, mainly in Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire. Prior to becoming an agronomist, he studied at Nottingham University and Harper Adams, and more recently he has studied for the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy, successfully completing it in 2013.

Richard Overthrow

Richard overthrowRichard is NIAB TAG’s Western Regional Agronomist, working with farmer members with the provision of technical services and strategic advice, alongside the management of NIAB’s agronomy research programme in the west and south-west of the UK, and development of knowledge transfer activities. An experienced arable advisor, Richard is regularly consulted for advice and opinion by the farming press. A graduate in Applied Biology (Crop Protection) he has spent his entire career in independent agronomy research, initially with the newly formed Cotswold Cereal Centre, then helping to launch and develop the Arable Research Centres which, through mergers including via The Arable Group, is now part of NIAB TAG.

Dr Alison Bentley

Alison BentleyNIAB’s Director of Genetics and Breeding since 2016 Alison also leads NIAB’s trait genetics research programme.   A graduate in agricultural science at the University of Sydney, with a PhD characterising the genetic structure of pathogen populations associated with Australian wheat production, Alison moved to NIAB in 2007 to take up a position in the wheat pre-breeding team with a specific emphasis on characterising the control of flowering time, a key adaptive trait.  Alison also contributed to the synthetic wheat program, particularly the exploitation of novel genetic diversity for wheat improvement.  She has a strong interest in the genetic control of complex traits and in the application of genomics towards the breeding of high yielding, climate resilient wheat.

Dr Phil Howell

Dr Phil HowellPhil has been a pivotal part of NIAB’s pre-breeding group since 2007, working on all major pre-breeding projects including the flagship wheat resynthesis programme. Since graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1992, he has almost 25 years’ experience in crop genetics and breeding, working on oilseed and cereal crops in both the public and private sector. Prior to joining NIAB, he spent ten years working within Syngenta’s wheat breeding programme, including five years as their senior UK wheat breeder with several successful varieties to his name. His wealth of practical experience and credibility amongst commercial peers has helped to cement NIAB’s position carrying out pre-competitive breeding research.

Dr Fiona Leigh

Fiona is a senior research scientist in NIAB’s Genetics and Breeding team at Cambridge. With over 20 years’ experience of characterising genetic diversity of crop plants using molecular markers, Fiona is now part of the pre-breeding team, capturing diversity from wheat relatives in order to augment the traits available to the wheat breeding community.

Richard Horsnell

Richard HorsnellRichard is a research scientist in NIAB’s Genetics and Breeding team at Cambridge. He focuses on pre-breeding, working on projects aimed at providing breeders and researchers with advanced and diverse breeding lines. Richard has worked at NIAB for over 15 years and is responsible for many of the crossing activities that the organisation undertakes. He played a key role in generating the MAGIC wheat populations and more recently he has been instrumental in capturing novel genetic diversity through the development of synthetic hexaploid wheat.

Dr Emma Wallington

Emma WallingtonEmma is the transformation programme leader at NIAB with over 20 years’ experience in molecular biology supporting construct-making, vector development and analysis of transgenic plants within academia and industry.  She is responsible for the development and progression of internal and collaborative academic research activities and also the contract service provision for external customers, which currently includes wheat, barley, rice and OSR transformation.



Dr Juno McKee

Dr Juno McKeeJuno is Head of Crops and Agronomy Business Development and is responsible for a range of projects that involve networking with diverse stakeholders delivering services related to business, technical and educational advancement.  Her scientific background is in the breeding systems of natural plant populations and she signed up to a career in the agricultural industry in 1995 when she joined NIAB. She has held many different roles at NIAB leading business development, management and technical co-ordination activities across a number of our plant varieties and seeds services. Juno also obtained an MBA during this time and was lucky enough to be awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship on Adding Value in Wheat Chains in 2003.

Andrew Watson

Andrew WatsonAndrew 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. He served as the chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) for four years, as well as director for nutritional and legislative affairs.



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).



Dr Sarah Holdgate

Sarah HoldgateSarah is a cereal pathologist focusing on diseases of cereal crops and the improvement of crops through plant breeding.  She manages NIAB’s cereal pathology research projects, including the UKCPVS, which focuses on the monitoring and characterisation of cereal pathogen populations, and has extensive knowledge on the wheat-yellow rust pathosystem through both her current post and previous work at the breeding company RAGT.  Sarah also leads an AHDB-funded project on the characterisation of novel isolates of Zymoseptoria tritici and is co-leader on other plant pathology projects at NIAB, including the development of field pathogenomics for surveillance of yellow rust in collaboration with the John Innes Centre and the Earlham Institute. Prior to her position at NIAB, Sarah was the Plant Breeding Pathologist at RAGT Seeds Ltd, where she managed the European Cereal Pathology Support Group. 

Dr Nathan Morris

Dr Nathan MorrisNIAB TAG’s Farming Systems and Soils Specialist Nathan studied for a PhD in Plant Sciences at the University of Reading looking at establishing arable crops in UK cereal stubbles using strip tillage. He is actively involved in NIAB TAG’s knowledge exchange and farmer training activities, so his research reaches end users rapidly. His 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.


Dr Mark Stalham

Mark StalhamMark is a Senior Research Associate at NIAB CUF.  His expertise lies mainly in irrigation scheduling and management, control of common scab and soil cultivation and is currently leading AHDB Potatoes-funded and commercial projects on soil management. He regularly conducts training courses and seminars on the transfer of science into practical solutions for the potato industry.

Precision Decisions

Stand 334

Precision Decisions offer a comprehensive range of precision farming services all the way through from soil sampling and consultancy to hardware sales and engineering services.

On our stand you will find out about our award winning soil sampling services and MiFarm mapping platform, the latest Topcon GPS consoles and auto-steer systems as well as the industry leading Yara N-Sensor.

Our guiding principle is that different approaches are best for different farms and that precision farming doesn’t have to be all about the latest, most expensive equipment on the biggest of machines.

We are also proud to be involved with numerous innovative projects. Such projects include; The ground-breaking ‘Hands Free Hectare’ – attempting to establish, grow and harvest a spring barley crop using only robotics. ‘Grasss-Tech’ – utilising satellite technology to monitor grass growth and aid in the management of grassland systems.

Aspects covered within this trail:

Precision soil services – Our unique and award-winning soil sampling services have been designed to ensure maximum efficiency, traceability and reliability. Using our own software ‘SoilBuggy’ gives us maximum flexibility in the services we provide, so that we can customise a sampling regime to fit with farm specific requirements. Whether it is basic nutrient testing, potato cyst nematode or conductivity scanning of the soil, these services help form a fundamental backbone when it comes to making better management decisions.

We also believe soil sampling is more than just producing nutrient maps. Variable rate nutrient recommendations from FACTS qualified advisors are included in your sampling package, provided with machinery files for all major rate controllers, with no extra cost and advice whenever required.

The Experts

Our expanding team now has specialities across agronomy, engineering, software and mobile app development and customer services; a broad base of skills which means that we are uniquely placed to assist with aspects of a farms different precision farming decisions.

Clive Blacker:

Clive BlackerDirector and founder of Precision Decisions, Clive is the U.K’s leading precision farming expert, pioneering the sector since the late 90s. From agronomy and consultancy to engineering and hardware solutions, Clive’s knowledge of the industry is second to none, with a reputation to match.



David Hart:

Technical – David’s expertise is in the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sector. With a wealth of knowledge specialising in guidance systems, David’s particular interest lies with RTK base-station technology.  

Harry Cadwallader:

Harry CadwalladerEngineering – Harry is our lead field engineer. His expertise is in the fitting and installation of precision technology and hardware. Harry specialises in the latest Topcon guidance and automatic section control (ASC) systems including GPS receivers, in-cab consoles and auto-steer technologies                              



Craig Patrick:

Craig PatrickMapping – Craig’s speciality is in soil sampling and mapping. Leading the soil sampling team at Precision Decisions, Craig organises all of our sampling operations from initial consultation with customers through to mapping and agronomy support in the way of FACTS qualified fertiliser recommendations.



Alastair Jeffrey:

Alastair JeffreySoil – Alastair is one of our soil sampling technicians. He specialises in operating our bespoke sampling equipment out in the field, particularly the EM conductivity scanner. As Precision Decisions is the only authorised Wintex dealer in the U.K, Alastair is also an accredited Wintex service engineer.   

Proagrica (Farmplan)

Stand 325

Find out how Gatekeeper and related services can automate a number of regular tasks, freeing you to get on with more important jobs. Discover how Farmplan can help you comply with regulation and legislation through electronically capturing work carried out for the purposes of regular audits.

The Experts:

Adam Joslin

Adam JoslingAdam is the Training Team Leader for Farmplan Support & Training department and is very experienced with all components of Farmplan Gatekeeper & also FACTS qualified.  He leads delivery on data management services for Farmplan customers, helping them to make the most of their Precision Farming data and has practical experience of integrating Gatekeeper with in-cab controller devices.

Based in Suffolk, Adam delivers on-farm and remote advice, training & best use assessments on Gatekeeper across the UK but mainly focussed in the Eastern Counties, the South East and East Midlands.


Charley White

Charley WhiteCharley White is a software trainer for the Farmplan Gatekeeper programme with a background in precision farming data and technologies. She assists customers in the development of data management practices for effective and efficient monitoring, and is particularly interested in spatial field performance analysis and the use of precision technologies to reduce administrative burdens.


Stand 118

  • Demonstrations of new SDHI technology cereal fungicide and seed treatment
  • Varieties and variety/input interactions
  • Integrated black-grass management
  • Drift reduction for environmental protection and better product use
  • Nozzle demonstrations in nozzle bath – nozzle selection for optimal application
  • Best practice – sprayer setup/use
  • FSOOTY (Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year) previous winners top tips and Q&A
  • New Farming Technologies and precision farming
  • Jamie Marshall-Roberts (New Farming Technologies Lead) and James Thomas (Application Expert) on hand to answer any questions


The Experts: Jamie Marshall-Roberts, New Farming Technology Lead & James Thomas, Application Expert

Syngenta is committed to the research and development of new technologies that help farmers to make more efficient use of resources including soil, water, land and inputs – to grow more from less. Syngenta invests around £1.1bn a year in global agriculture R&D. Syngenta’s New Farming Technology team is investigating the practical application of innovative new precision farming developments - including satellites, drones, weather modelling for pest and disease forecasting and sophisticated image and data analysis – to help growers make more effective crop agronomy decisions on farm.

Jamie and James will both be on hand throughout Cereals Event to answer your questions about improving precision and efficiency on your farm.

Jamie Marshall-Roberts

Jamie Marshall-RobertsJamie Marshall-Roberts, New Farming Technology Lead, joined Syngenta ten years ago as a trialist and has since gained a vast amount of experience in UK sales and territory technical roles. He now heads up the New Farming Technology team and is able to apply his commercial and technical knowledge to help farmers get the best from their land using the latest technology.



James Thomas

James ThomasJames Thomas, Application Expert, has been working in application technology and precision farming for Syngenta for three years. With a background in agricultural engineering, James has a robust understanding of the impact good application techniques can make in terms of maximising chemical efficacy, sprayer efficiency and productivity, whilst minimising drift.


Teejet Technologies

Stand 122

Find out about a Pulse Width Modulation system called DynaJet Flex. Have complete control over your droplet size with a wide range of forward speeds or application rates and change your droplet size on the move without affecting application rate. Efficiency of controlled droplet sizes and ensuring drift reduction is controlled while maintaining efficacy.

The expert: Stephen Almey 

Stephen AlmeyStephen is 31 years old. He lives in the county of Cambridgeshire. As a youth he worked on his grandfather’s arable farm, where he gained his passion for farming.  He studied Ag engineering via the apprenticeship programs and reached the level of LTA 4 Master Technician as well as NVQ 3 and JD level 4 diploma.

In his previous position he worked as a service engineer at Ben Burgess, a John Deere dealership. He covered the support and repair for a wide range of products, dealing with hydraulics, engines, gearboxes and electrical systems, as well as a vast program of product training from various manufacturers and was renowned as a conscientious problem solver.

As John Deere Sprayer Specialist and the John Deere AMS specialist (Agricultural Management Solutions) he has extensive technical experience with all aspects of precision farming.  

Stephen has completed extensive training in TeeJet Technology products in Denmark and as well as completed two weeks at our factories in the US. His primary role is to support manufacturers with our ever expanding range of precision farming products and assist in the testing and development of new products.

Stephen enjoys spending his free time in the countryside walking the land, pigeon or clay shooting. A follower of all sports he has a very keen interest in Formula 1 racing.


Stand 345

  • Accuracy and efficiency with Trimble's steering equipment
  • Variable rate application for optimising input application and row/section control for precision of application
  • Wireless data management and connectivity between the machine operating in the field and the office to ease and simplify the transfer of data.


Stand 802

Precision Nitrogen Management has been a focus area for Yara since 1996. Agronomists can walk the farmer through the complexities of precision nitrogen management and share thoughts via a presentation on the Yara N Sensor. With a number of Sensors on the market what are the key considerations you need to focus on?


Event Partners