The NIAB Agronomy Cup is an annual unique trials-based crop challenge begun in 2012. It aims to engage with the next generation of agricultural advisors and crop scientists whilst showcasing practical agronomic science and crop research.
Open to agriculture and crop science students from universities and colleges across the UK the competition is based on the outcome of a team’s agronomy, farm management and agricultural decision-making skills.
But it differs from other crop trial competitions as these agronomic decisions are tested on fully-replicated field plots at a NIAB TAG trials site local to the team, rather than as a desk-based challenge or at a single central location. In this way the competition emphasises the importance of field observations, basing decisions on those observations and then understanding and interpreting the results from field trials. It also shows how local conditions may lead to differing agronomic decisions compared to a national view.
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All teams are encouraged to use the NIAB Facebook page and Twitter (@NIABTAG, #niabcup) to discuss and debate plot recommendations with each other, opposing teams and interested parties as well as post pictures and videos of plots and team members working with NIAB staff.
For further information contact Ian Midgley, NIAB TAG National Trials Co-ordinator on 01223 342200
Poppy de Pass, Elice Willett, Matt Clarke and Elwyn Thomas, RAU’s Team B and final year BSc (Hons) Agriculture students, achieved the highest gross margin in the competition with a 9.78 t/ha yield and an input cost of £87.10/ha, beating 16 other teams to lift the Cup. The team also wins a day out with a NIAB TAG agronomist, free entry to a NIAB TAG technical conference and a £100 Countrywide voucher for each team member.
Coming second, and also based at Cirencester, the Countrywide Agronomists achieved a higher yield with 9.97 t/ha, but spent more on inputs at £131.63/ha. Although Cordiale was used for all the competition plots, none achieved milling standard despite obvious planning by some of the teams.
The final results of the 2014 Countrywide NIAB Agronomy Cup were:
1 Royal Agricultural University Team B
2 Countrywide Agronomists
3 Harper Adams University Team A
4 Moulton College Team A
5 Easton & Otley College Team A
6 Lincoln University
7 Royal Agricultural University Team A
8 Duchy College Team A
Also taking part were Newcastle University Teams A, B & C, Harper Adams University Team B, Askham Bryan College Teams A & B, Duchy College Team B, Moulton College Team B & Easton & Otley College Team B
For further information and results for 2014, visit: http://www.niab.com//news_and_events/article/332
Simon Harwood, Anna Murray, George Gay and James Cunningham beat teams from Harper Adams University, Shuttleworth College, The Royal Agricultural University and from their own Easton and Otley College. The team achieved a plot yield of 8.257 t/ha, 0.023 t/ha less than a second team from Easton and Otley College, but crucially the winners spent 30% less on fungicides.
Ben Gooding, Rob Hosker, Alex McCormack and Howard Tratt from Harper Adams University’s FdSc Agriculture course beat students from Easton College, Newcastle University, The Royal Agricultural College, Lincoln University, Sparsholt College and fellow students from HAU’s BSc Agriculture course to take the 2012 title and a £2,000 cash prize for HAU. Rob and Alex were presented with the Agronomy Cup in front of delegates at the NIAB TAG Outlook Conference.