Farmer Focus: Philip Bradshaw welcomes BASIS award

It’s with great relief that I can report that all who sat the BASIS Plant Protection Award exam at Holbeach in February passed.

The course and exam day were excellent and very well ran, although it took over six stressful weeks to get the results. I’m proud to have passed all of the modules and have a BASIS Diploma in Agronomy hanging on the office wall.

With fellow candidate Greg Bliss also gaining this award, our Peterborough Deeping Fen and Whittlesey Training Group now has two members with diplomas and several more close to achieving them. Thanks are due to those delivering our excellent training over recent years and long may this continue.

The challenge for a farmer aspiring to do more of his own agronomy is not only to maintain the discipline of field-walking, but to ensure lack of experience isn’t a problem. I’m still on a huge learning curve.

Unfortunately, no amount of agronomic qualifications or experience will improve some of our crops that are struggling badly on the lighter soil. The long almost rain-free period has already lost yield potential, which needs reflecting in price.

Sadly, concerns of such material issues faded into insignificance for us on 7 May when my dear father, Norman, suddenly passed away after a heart attack.

He had worked incredibly hard as a farmer, while also ensuring a happy balanced life for our family.

In the late 1990s he “retired” from active farming, but was still an incredible help and inspiration to me in both life and business.

On behalf of myself and my family I would like to thank everyone who has contacted and supported us through this time. It’s clear that everyone who had the privilege of knowing him will miss him as much as we do.

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