Mark Davies - Head of Fruit

A day in the life

Who are you and what is your role at Agrovista?

My name is Mark Davies, and I am Head of Fruit here at Agrovista UK.

My interest in farming stems from spending much of my time as a youngster on my Grandparents mixed farm in Somerset, at the foot of the Quantocks. More experience working during school holidays with Adam Henson and his father Joe in the Cotswolds really sealed the deal. I then spent a very happy pre college year Milking and Calving a 200-cow herd at Salperton Park estate. After a 4 year B.Sc degree course at Harper Adams, I went on to land a job as an assistant farm manager on a PYO fruit farm.

What does your job typically involve?

My role as Head of Fruit is to help ensure that as a business, we are delivering on our promise to our fruit growing clients. That promise is to help our growers maximise the potential from their crops, whilst being mindful of all the environmental and legislative responsibilities we share. The team operates in all fruit crops, soft fruit and tree fruits. We offer the complete service, from help with site selection and variety choice, right through to regular agronomy visits, canopy management advice, and product supply. Of course, I also have a responsibility to ensure the numbers add up.

Every day is different. We have an obligation to ensure that the team is provided with all the tools they need to do a great job. This will involve ensuring that everyone is up to date with the technical information they need, working with the teams technical head, as well as help ensuring that all products that are required are adequately stocked at depots. We work very much as a team, the wider team includes all our colleagues in Distribution and Logistics, Accounts, Marketing, IT, HR and Learning and Development, that help make our Fruit business the success that it is today. As the business grows, I find myself being more involved in recruitment, as we look for additional members of the team that can help add value to the Agrovista offer to growers. In addition, I coordinate our very successful substrate business with our partners, Botanicoir. Material is produced in Sri Lanka on a grower specific basis, according to their needs, and then shipped directly to farm. Planning production and making sure that all arrives in time is quite an undertaking, working up to 12 months in advance.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job must be seeing the team grow as individuals. It is great to see how success in the field breeds self-confidence and leads to yet further success. It is great to hear from our clients how pleased they are with our agronomists, and to see long term relationships develop. It also gives me immense personal satisfaction to see Agrovista considered to be an authority in Fruit agronomy and challenging the norm.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The biggest challenge I face currently must be helping our clients and team deal with the uncertainty created by Brexit. Our growers face very new and real pressures that we must acknowledge in our day to day roles, to help mitigate where possible. One of the strengths of our business is the ability to be fleet of foot – and I think that will give us a great competitive advantage in the months and years to come.

I recently celebrated 10 years at Agrovista in November, and it has been a very exciting and productive 10 years, being part of a business that is really making a difference on farm.