Many organisations have run competitions based on the outcome of a team’s agronomy, farm management and agricultural decision-making. Without trying to rival these existing competitions NIAB TAG has created a unique trials-based challenge to promote the training of a new generation of agricultural advisors and crop scientists, and to increase our engagement with colleges and universities and students.
The NIAB TAG Agronomy Cup is a competition based on a series of fully replicated field trial plots. These will properly evaluate the entrants’ decisions, emphasising the importance of field observations, basing decisions on those observations and then understanding and interpreting the results from field trials.
The competition is open to colleges and universities across the UK. Each student team have to provide seasonal input recommendations for their competition plots of winter wheat including plant growth regulator, fungicide programme and additional fertiliser inputs over and above the standard farm applied.
As part of the NIAB TAG Agronomy Cup initiative participating colleges and universities have free access to all the data generated from the field trials work for use in classroom teaching and to illustrate key aspects of field trials design and analysis.
|TEAM||NIAB TAG Field Trials Site|
|Sparsholt College||Sutton Scotney|
|Harper Adams University College - 1||Harper Adams|
|Harper Adams University College - 2||Harper Adams|
|Royal Agricultural College||Cirencester|
In accepting our challenge the student teams will make the agronomic input decisions for plots of the winter wheat variety . Our trials officers will apply the recommendation to the plots at the NIAB TAG field trials site local to the team's college or university.
Our focus is on engagement between students and our regional agronomists; the teams are encouraged to use these plots as a learning opportunity through the season. They can visit the plots, make their own observations and assessments of crop development and diseases, and take the opportunity to talk to our trial officers to find out more about field experimental practice. As well as crop yield and grain quality our trials officers will provide their own core set of disease assessments that can be used for comparison training and education.
Check out the NIAB TAG Agronomy Cup rules
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.
All teams are encouraged to use the NIAB TAG 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 TAG staff.
For further information contact John Cussans, NIAB TAG National Trials Co-ordinator on 01223 342200