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13th April 2016

Growers get their ‘hands on’ precision at SOYL events

SOYL academy mainSOYL’s winter grower-training programme has now drawn to a close after 30 events around the UK between November 2015 and March 2016 and attended by more than 600 farmers. This brings the number of individual growers to have attended a SOYL training event since they began in 2010 to more than 2,000.

SOYL commercial director, Simon Parrington says: “At SOYL we never stop innovating to find solutions to farming challenges. We know growers value precision and want to do more with it, and the popularity of these events continues to prove that.

“We’ve been taking precision to the road for a few years now but this year we focused on smaller groups than in previous years. The reason for this was that we wanted to make the sessions more interactive. We had iPads and laptops available to delegates during the sessions. This enabled growers to actually use the precision software we’ve developed ‘live’ as it was demonstrated, rather than just listening to a presentation.”

In recent years SOYL events have consisted of a smaller number of large events, often with more than 100 growers in the audience. “Those were great events and always popular but this year we wanted to provide a smaller classroom style environment where growers could have a more hands on experience with our technology so they could see just how simple to use it is.”

One grower who has attended SOYL’s winter events for the last few years is Wayne Turnbull who farms 1,000ha for R H Mason in Wold Newton, East Yorkshire. Mr Turnbull says: “I’ve been to a few of these SOYL events now and they’re very good. On the day as well as presenting what’s new in precision farming, the SOYL team can actually show you the different services and how they work on an iPad and then let you have a go yourself. There’s always something to learn and I’d recommend going along to these events to any farmer. It’s about helping you to get the most from every acre, from looking at P&K variations, to soil pH and yield mapping – it’s all interesting if you’re looking to get control of cost of production. The principles of using the techniques SOYL shares apply no matter what the size of farm.

“And of course, as well as all that, there’s the social aspect. As farmers, we don’t often get together with other growers to share ideas and news. The events give us a great opportunity to do that too.”

Simon concludes: “We’ve started planning next season’s events already. Our initial thoughts are to create a hybrid event that draws on the best elements of both the larger presentation-style talks and the smaller more interactive training sessions. It’s great to present ideas to lots of people at once but when we are explaining a new piece of kit and how easy it is to use, nothing beats letting farmers have a go themselves.”

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