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Farming: Arable Scotland event returns with a focus on technological innovation

By David Porter

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The James Hutton Institute, SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), and AHDB (the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) welcome the arable sector back to Balruddery Farm, Dundee on July 4 for their field-based Arable Scotland event.

Built around the theme of Innovating for the Future, the event will look at the pressing challenges the agricultural sector faces and how farming innovation and adaptation will be key to success across the industry.

Starting at 9am, the all-day event will include three ‘Arable Conversations’ which will focus on key topics affecting the industry.

The first, at 10am is focusing on Adapting to the Changing Climate and chaired by Colleen McCulloch (independent facilitator and formerly of Soil Association Scotland), the second at midday is Staying Profitable on Lower Inputs chaired by David Brewster (agricultural consultant) and the final slot, chaired by David Michie (NFUS policy adviser) at 3pm, will discuss The Changing Policy Landscape.

Alongside these sessions, attendees are invited to tour more than 100 field plots which will showcase results from research and development work on cereals, oilseeds, legumes and cover crops.

Guided tours will show case the AHDB’s Recommended List variety trials and discuss the new options.

Most importantly, plots will highlight crop varieties that perform well with fewer inputs, mixed cropping, or alternative crop protection products alongside new non-pesticide solutions and how to integrate them into the most effective fungicide programmes.

New for Arable Scotland this year will be machinery demos, with a large part of the site made over to working kit.

Speaking about the event, Alison Karley, Research Leader in Agroecology at the James Hutton Institute said:

“Innovations for future farming come in many guises and technology is just part of the picture. The most important factor is knowledge, so it’s vital that we have events such as Arable Scotland to bring the industry together to share expertise and insight on the challenges we’re all facing.

This year’s event will have a raft of demonstrations, trade stands and arable conversations aimed at inspiring people to share stories, ideas and experience to help prepare for what lies ahead, so we encourage anyone within the sector to come along.”

Fiona Burnett, Professor Applied Plant Pathology, SRUC said:

“The whole industry is aware of the multiple challenges we are facing and the pressing need to change. Front and central at Arable Scotland are the emerging solutions and new innovations that will help the arable industry in Scotland adapt and thrive.

"What makes the event unique is having the whole supply chain present and, in addition to the plots and working demonstrations, we have representation from agricultural supply and farming, right through to end-users and the assurance scheme Scottish Quality Crops. “

Adrian James, Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB added: “It is widely accepted that knowledge is power and with the financial risk levels in arable farming rising, the need for arable farmers to remain as efficient as possible is perhaps more important now than ever!

"So attending Arable Scotland to catch up on the latest advice and knowledge from stakeholders and experts across the whole arable industry is vital for all arable farmers in Scotland.”

The Arable Scotland event will take place from 9am to 4pm on Tuesday July 4 at the James Hutton Institute’s Balruddery Farm, Dundee.

Tickets are available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arable-scotland-2023-tickets-615683294307?aff=oddtdtcreator

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