A SCOTTISH BASED agronomist and farmer has won the 2005 Barrie Orme Shield for best candidate in the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection exams, it has been announced.

Andy Steven, is an Agrovista agronomist for north Scotland and also runs the 120ha (300 acre) family farm near Arbroath.

“The Certificate in Crop Protection is acknowledged as a challenging test of competence,” commented former BASIS chairman, Windsor Griffiths. “This year’s winner is that very desirable trait – a hybrid – an agronomist with a practical farming background.”

Mr Griffiths said he is very encouraged that despite cutbacks in the industry, numbers taking the exam remain high, with some 229 candidates in the past year. This compares to a total of over 6,000 people who have now taken the exam and 3,500 advisers signed up to the BASIS Professional Register.

Runners-up this year were Edmund Stevens, a trainee agronomist with Hutchinson in Kent; Timothy Walker, a landscape manager with English Heritage in the Midlands and Russell Armstrong, a trainee manager with Farmcare in Leicestershire.