Suffolk farmer John Taylor beat off stiff competition from farmers, distributor reps and independent agronomists to win the inaugural Barrie Orme Shield for top candidate in the industry-recognised BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection. Mr Taylor, who farms 1140ha from Clopton, near Woodbridge, received his award from recently retired BASIS chief executive Barrie Orme earlier this month. Although 46% of candidates sitting the exam were farmers, Mr Taylor is not looking to replace his two agronomists. Instead his improved understanding of pesticide issues will help save time and money, better justify input use and help protect the environment, he says. "I think youve got to be able to justify any spray decision and not just follow a recommendation."