NIAB Agronomy

Miss Emma Smith

With a BA (HONS) in business management and a keen interest in horticulture, Emma is part of the Glasshouse and Ornamental specialist team delivering trials and R&D services for mainly commercial customers of Arable, Fruit and Ornamental and Protected Crops in the glasshouses.

Emma provides the team with business development, contract management, customer liaison, coordination and technical services for activities including variety trials and variety characterisation, product evaluation trials, nutrition and growing system studies.

Mr Benjamin Tea

Ben's role within NIAB covers two main areas, that of a technical grower and in business development.

As a FACTS Qualified Advisor (Hort) Ben provides technical growing advice from his base at NIAB’s Park Farm glasshouse facility. He also produces bespoke fertigation systems and oversees the set up of protected/controlled environment facilities for all crops such as ornamentals, fruit, vegetables, cereals and legumes.

Ben's role within business development is to share his previous commercial experience and help develop ideas into actionable trials for NIAB’s customers.

Miss Kate Waite

Kate is responsible for coordinating agronomic (fungicide, insecticide, nutrition and PGR) trials focusing on cereals, oilseed rape and pulses. She is also responsible for the contract management of variety oilseed rape trials.

Dr Aoife O' Driscoll

Responsibilities

A molecular plant pathologist by training, Aoife has broad ranging experience in crop protection research, agronomy and knowledge transfer in the arable and horticulture crop sectors. Her PhD conducted with Teagasc investigated novel sources of resistance to Septoria tritici in wheat and the model grass species Brachypodium distachyon. She has since held roles in agrochemical regulatory science and as a field vegetable pathologist with ADAS, achieving her BASIS Certificate in Commercial Horticulture in 2018.

Mr Colin Peters

Responsibilities

Colin has previously worked as a distributor agronomist and a farm manager for a large farm management organisation before moving on to work as Head of Farms for BBSRC, based at Rothamsted Research.

As NIAB's break crop specialist he provides specialist technical and scientific knowledge on the evaluation, selection and management of crop varieties, focusing on break crops including oilseed rape, linseed, pulses, sugar beet and other minor crops. As part of the role he helps coordinate the break crop trials programmes, working with staff across NIAB.

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