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Arable Conversations: a chance to speak your mind at Arable Scotland

Dr Ken Loades will chair an Arable Conversations session (c) James Hutton Inst
“That’s what makes Arable Conversations, and Arable Scotland, different from other events: this is an open floor, ‘say what you want to say’, opportunity where people will listen”

Do you have any burning questions about key issues influencing Scotland’s arable industry? Come to Arable Scotland (Balruddery Farm near Dundee, 2 July 2019), the newly launched event focussing on the innovations that will drive the markets and the viability of Scottish arable production, and take part in the brand-new Arable Conversations.

Arable Conversations seek to provide an interactive space for open and frank discussions of topical issues, enabling delegates and expert panels to share views and explore solutions to environmental and financial sustainability issues facing the industry.

Topics open for discussion include future market trends; opportunities and barriers for new entrants; SEPA’s new Crop Production Sector Plan and sustainable farming systems.

Dr Ken Loades, Soils and Crop Sector Lead at SEFARI Gateway and chair of the session on SEPA’s Crop Production Plan, said: “The new Arable Conversations are going to be a really good way of allowing people to engage differently. They offer a forum where delegates can engage with each other and with a panel consisting of a chair and a couple of representatives relevant to that conversation.

“That’s what makes Arable Conversations, and Arable Scotland, different from other events: this is an open floor, ‘say what you want to say’, opportunity where people will listen.”

The line-up of Arable Conversations for Arable Scotland 2019 is as follows:

  • 10.30 am   Future Markets: Getting more gain from your grain
    Chaired by David Eudall, Head of Market Specialists Arable, AHDB; panel members Sam Scott (Hectare Agritech), Mark McCallum (Highland Grain Ltd), Donald Ross (AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year). This session will highlight key stats around the current global and domestic picture for cereal markets. Expect info on national stocks, cereal movements across the world and tariff implications.
  • 11.30 am   New entrants to arable farming: opportunities and obstacles
    Chaired by Zander Hughes, Next Generation Vice Chair, NFUS; panel member Annie McKee (James Hutton Institute). Explore alternative routes into farming other than the traditional channel of succession and discuss different opportunities available to anyone interested in getting into farming and identify the innovative ways the industry can support potential and new entrants.
  • 1.30 pm   Working together for future prosperity: SEPA's Crop Production Sector Plan
    Chaired by Ken Loades, Soils and Crop Sector Lead, SEFARI Gateway; panel members Johan Schutten (SEPA), Euan Grewar (Grewar’s Farm), Andrew Midgley (NFUS). SEPA’s Crop Production Sector Plan aims to help the industry work towards a ‘beyond compliance’ approach to managing production. Attend this session to understand more about the sector plan and discuss existing barriers in working towards a beyond compliance approach.
  • 2.30 pm   Is sustainable farming truly sustainable?
    Chaired by Caroline Drummond, CEO, Linking Environment and Farming; panel members Ali Karley (James Hutton Institute), James Hopkinson (Arable Ventures), David Aglen (Balbirnie Home Farms). Hold on to your hats as we settle in for what could be one of our more controversial conversations. Panellists will outline their experiences of conservation or regen agriculture, managing crops in a way which protects soils and water, while still ensuring good yields. Is this something more farmers could, and should, be doing?

Questions for the Arable Conversation panels can also be submitted by texting 07494 781 950 or by using #ArableScotland on Twitter.

Arable Scotland is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with Scotland's Rural College and AHDB, is supported by the Farm Advisory Service, SEFARI and the Scottish Farmer, and sponsored by HL Hutchinson Ltd and the Scottish Society for Crop Research.

This year’s demonstration plots are focused on four key areas or ‘zones’ in the field – innovative breeding, quality crops for defined markets, innovative crop management and sustainable farming systems. As well as featuring on regular tours throughout the day, visitors will also be able to speak directly to the companies and researchers who have set up the demos.

Visit https://www.arablescotland.org.uk to learn more about the event, and book your place on the Eventbrite page for Arable Scotland https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arable-scotland-tickets-59153320173.

Notes to editors:

There will be a press briefing between 8:30 and 9:30 am, before the start of the main event. Journalists are welcome to attend but should RSVP to Bernardo.RodriguezSalcedo@hutton.ac.uk.

Arable Scotland is an event delivered in partnership by the James Hutton Institute, Scotland's Rural College and AHDB with support from The Farm Advisory Service, SEFARI and the Scottish Farmer. It is sponsored by HL Hutchinson Ltd and the Scottish Society for Crop Research.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.