ASKHAM Bryan College students recently benefited from agronomy training from Bayer CropScience experts.

The three-hour session on seed treatments was the first such training given by the firm at the York college, which is keen to encourage closer ties with industry for its students.

John Wray, college head of agriculture, said: “It’s a win-win situation for students, college and industry partners.

“The students benefit from hearing directly from industry about how products are used and applied in the field, which backs up what they learn in lectures, while industry benefits from being able to whet the appetite of students for careers in agronomy and industry.

“Some of the students would never have considered a career in agronomy or with a firm such as Bayer CropScience without a day like this one.”

The firm has previously provided physical resources, such as Weed Spotter and Pest Spotter guide books, and ad-hoc agronomy updates to students at the college, but not a training session.

Dr John Cook, the local commercial technical manager for Bayer Crop- Science, said “This was the first time we had done a training session of this type.”

The 150 students spent about 45 minutes with Dr John Cook, the company’s local technical manager, learning about seed treatment technology and having their questions answered.

He said: “The idea was to introduce students as to why we use seed treatments in modern agriculture and demonstrate the professional and responsible industry approach to their application to seed.”

The session was brought to life by the presence of a mobile seed treatment plant brought along by David Kendra of P & M Kendra (Market Weighton) Ltd.

Together with Bayer CropScience seed treatment engineers Matt Roberts and Jim Donald, Mr Kendra explained the different parts of the treatment process, from the cleaning of seed right through treating and then the handling of treated seed and its packaging.

Dr Cook said: “One of the clear messages we wanted students to go away with was that seed treatments are crop protection products, and as such, the label must always be adhered to as a statutory requirement.”

Feedback from students attending the session was excellent. Mr Wray said: “The students, who ranged from those doing an introductory level course in agriculture to ones in the second year of a degree level course, found it very informative and productive.

We do around half a dozen of these type of days a year at Askham Bryan, but would be keen to expand that.’’