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Meet the crop doctor!

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28 February 2020

Harper Adams alumnus, Rob Daniel has put his degree knowledge to work in his role as agronomist with Agrii. Having graduated in 2010 from his BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Crop Management degree course, Rob has become known as the crop doctor of the vale of York.

But how did he gain this reputation? Rob explained: “I come from a family arable farm where my dad, two uncles and cousins all work. When I joined Harper Adams to study agriculture and crops, I was unsure of what I wanted to do after studying. It was a toss up between going back into farming and following the family business, or working in agronomy.

“During my time at Harper, I definitely swayed more towards the crop and arable elements of my studies. Although farming is part of this, understanding how to make the best of the full cycle, right from the soil through to the end product was something I was interested in pursuing.”

With this in mind, Rob began researching careers that would enable his theoretical interests to become practical working reality. He commented: “This was when I started looking more into agronomy. I remember asking my mum about her thoughts and the first thing was that I would grow up to be a crop doctor!

“Despite this, agronomy emcompasses a lot more than just growing crops. It’s also about monitoring through the season, working with farmers to maximise the profit of the crops that they are growing. It’s holistic management of land and crop.”

Of his role as an agronomist, Rob said: “Quite often some of the older generations refer to the agronomist as the chemical man but we really do go the full cycle from soil to finished crop.

“Much of what I do is a case of managing with our farmers what input they want to get out of their agronomist. While some may want us to be part of the whole process, others simply want us to be the chemical man. The great thing about chemicals now is that they are so specific to what we put them on - it’s not harmful to other crops or to other people using them. The industry is getting smarter, even in the last nine years I’ve been part of it - it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come.”

Should you be interested in becoming an agronomist like Rob, you can check out our agriculture courses on our open day, March 21, and see how a degree that matters can unlock the door to an amazing career. You can register you interest below.

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