Skip to content
Home » News » We have a winner!

We have a winner!

  • News
  • 2 min read

Rhys Jones, research, development, and agronomy technician at Terravesta, along with his team, representing Bishop Burton College, have had a landslide win for the Cereals Pea Growing Challenge 2016 – receiving full marks for yield criteria.

Competing against students from six leading agricultural universities, the challenge was to successfully manage a pea crop.

Along with team-mates Harry Torn and Shane Hardgrave, Rhys opted to use the Sakura marrowfat pea for its high yields and excellent downy mildew resistance.

“For the project we had to outline how we wanted the peas drilled, specify seed rates, seed varieties, and treatment advice. We’ve also had to produce a spray programme and calculate a gross margin for the project, then execute a harvest plan,” he says.

Judged on their decisions and, ultimately yield and profitability, Rhys, as team leader has learned a lot from the experience. “There are so many things you have to pre-empt, and I’ve learned that peas are susceptible to a lot of pests and diseases.

“The competition is run by Velcourt and Hutchinsons, and we actually directed a trialist who managed a plot at Velcourt, so we were acting agronomists – which was great practice,” says Rhys.

Judged by Keith Norman, technical director at Velcourt, Dick Neale, Hutchinsons technical manager, the PGRO’s Roger Vickers, Claire Domoney from the John Innes Centre and Robert Law, host farmer for the 2016 Cereals event, the panel was a tough one to impress.

Rhys was delighted when the results were announced, “I was so surprised to win and I’m really proud of the team, our gross margin was considerably better than the other groups thanks to minimal chemical inputs. We were even interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire which was a very surreal experience.”

Establishing the crop in a cold wet March was a challenge for all teams but Rhys said that their crop had very few issues thanks to their attention to detail and meticulous planning, which also went down well with the judges.

“Another thing I’m really proud of is the fact that there was only three members of my team, all of the others had four members and an expert mentor,” adds Rhys.

This achievement has really proved Rhys’ agronomy skills in a real-time situation and it has certainly set him in good stead for the future as he graduates from Bishop Burton with a foundation degree in Agriculture.

Well done Rhys!