Agrii upbeat about future of UK arable farming

Crop production in the UK has better opportunities for growth than almost anywhere in Europe helped by its track record of productivity gains and reputation as a quality food producer.

Tom O’Mahony, chief executive of distributor Agrii’s parent company Origin Enterprises, was upbeat about arable growers achieving higher crop yields in the future.

He said that research-based productivity improvements would help offset the lack of new agrichemical products and tighter regulations.

His group’s role was to help growers overcome key knowledge gaps limiting crop productivity and profitability he told Agrii’s northern farming conference at Bishop Burton College in Yorkshire.

He was pictured (second on left) discussing plans for a new technology centre at Bishop Burton with (left to right) Agrii’s Jim Carswell and John Moore and Bishop Burton’s vice-principal Bill Meredith.

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“We know 15-20t/ha should be an achievable target for UK wheat production, and we understand the huge potential precision farming technologies offer for improving crop productivity, profitability and sustainability,” he added.

Mr O’Mahony believed future crop production progress lies more in novel genetics and improved agronomic regimes than in new agrichemicals.

This is why Agrii is spending £20m over the next five years to include two new technical centres – the first under construction at Bishop Burton and the second which will be unveiled later this year in Scotland.

“We see Agrii’s role as providing growers with the most effective products and systems and the most appropriate advice to make the most of them by harnessing the latest research-based understanding,” he said.

Mr O’Mahony told an audience of more than 500 growers and advisers that his business aims to provide its 300-plus field specialists with resources second-to-none in helping growers.

He explained that the partnership with Bishop Burton was aimed at inspiring young agronomists and advisers being attracted to the business.

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