2015 Growth Awards Winners European Study Tour Success
Winning the Growth Awards is not only a noteworthy accolade, but it also secures individuals a place on a once-in-a-lifetime study tour. Last year’s Growth Awards national winners have recently returned from their study tour across Europe. Below is a wrap up of their time overseas.
Stopping first in England, the group toured Windsor Castle’s farming operations and Syngenta’s world-leading Jealott’s Hill research facility before attending Cereals 2016 and finishing up in Austria at the Case IH plant.
Insider’s guide to the Royal Farms
The pinnacle of the trip for many was an exclusive, all-access tour of the Royal Farms at Windsor Castle. The Farm Manager, Mark Osman, showed the group around the 12 farms, spread across 23,000 acres. The group learned about the soils, irrigation, crop rotations, soil management and enterprise sustainability.
“The impact of this behind-the-scenes tour will last a lifetime for the group,” said Rob Cairns, Head of Corporate Affairs, Syngenta. “To get up close and personal with such a historically significant farming operation is not something you get to do every day. This was definitely a favourite experience for many.”
The mixed use operations of the historical farm includes cropping, beef, lamb, forestry and dairy. The team walked through breathtaking views across the farms as they discussed the benefits of the friable soil in the wet climate, which sees around 600 mm annual rainfall. The farms also integrate a standard cropping rotation with wheat, barley, OSR and maize.
The study tour group spent their last two days in Europe visiting the CNH Industrial factory where machines for Case IH and New Holland Agriculture, Case Construction Equipment and New Holland Construction, Fiat Powertrain Industrial and Steyr are manufactured. Here, they discovered the monumental effort the manufacturer is putting towards improving advanced farming systems.
The group got to see the full assembly of tractors and delved into the technology behind Case IH’s GPS and yield mapping and Real Time Kinematic (RTK), which provides additional stationary reference points via mobile networks. They then got a chance to drive sometractors around the site and really see how they perform.
“The partnership between Case IH and Syngenta is significant and helps progress a shared agenda around innovation in agriculture, allowing solutions, ideas and effort to be shared between companies and across countries,” said Rob.
The true take-away
While the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the real benefit is what happened when they returned home. Throughout the trip, the group used this experience as an opportunity to network, discover alternate business landscapes, and investigate new technologies and products. They discussed issues and ideas to help overcome challenges in their own businesses. Now that they’re home, they have the opportunity to put these ideas into motion. They’ve all made plans to visit one another and learn first-hand about their different businesses.
An interesting element for the European study tour was seeing how a global effort comes together to improve agriculture around the world. The group spent a day exploring Syngenta’s largest agrichemical R&D facility in Jealott’s Hill, England, followed by a day touring through the leading technical event for the UK arable industry, Cereals 2016. Both of these days provided a wealth of knowledge and insider’s tips on the future of agriculture.
Jealott’s Hill Research Facility
Jealott’s Hill was an impressive sight for the group. They were able to truly experience Syngenta’s commitment to R&D by learning about the number of discovery projects happening at the facility.
They were taken on a personal tour through a number of key areas of the development process from discovery biology to biokinetics, and learned of an impressive program called the double haploid program, which actually reduces cultivar development time from approximately 10 years to six or seven.
The group also had the opportunity to pour over documents in the “Haystack” – a chemistry library where almost every discovered compound known to man is kept for the possibility of one day posing a useful solution to a future problem.
Cereals 2016 Event
The study tour group spent a day exploring the 64 hectares of stands, crop plots and demonstrations that were on display at Cereals 2016. Syngenta UK staff provided tours across the Syngenta site, which boasted a full showcase of cereal genetics, feed wheats, malting, brewing and hybrid barleys, black grass management and demonstration of SOLATENOL application – a chemical that is scheduled for registration in 2017.
Overall, the trip was deemed a success by organisers and attendees. “Feedback from the group was outstandingly positive,” said Rob. “The trip showcased how international collaboration can improve operations around the world. The group of professionals who went on this trip have all returned to their business operations with a reinvigorated dedication to improving not only their businesses but the greater industry.”