Stuart Cree - Technicial Seed Specialist

A day in the life

Who are you and what’s your role at Agrovista

Good Day. I’m Stuart Cree and I am Technical Seed Specialist at Agrovista. My principle task is to brief the seven Seed Co-ordinator agronomists from all regions around the UK on all things ‘Seed’, up and coming new varieties and suitability of existing on regional and farm-level basis as required.

How did you get into this career?

I ‘cut my teeth’ in agriculture as a teenager on a small livestock enterprise owned by my father in County Durham, coincidentally next door to a vegetable nursery now serviced by one of our Northern agronomy team (it’s a small world!). Following a qualification in Agricultural Business Management I started my 35 years career in the Seed trade as a Seed Production Trainee for plant breeder Nickerson – now Limagrain; 12 years at PBI Cambridge Ltd, a brief spell at Monsanto and 19 years for an independent seed multiplication business, before joining Agrovista in 2016.

What does your job typically involve?

My job role is split into three distinct tasks. Technical Support for the agronomy team; seed production of principle market and exclusive Agrovista varieties, and finally overseeing the screening of new varieties. All three combined have me travelling the length of the UK, conversing with arable growers from all walks of life each with their own issues and requirements, trialling new varieties never grown before and with the other teams within the business, helping to build a marketing platform to develop market share.

What's the best part of your job?

Being able to offer a potential solution to a grower problem.

Seed growers are generally the top 25% of the farming community. Many have diversified into new avenues of arable business and have a thorough understanding of their enterprise needs. Being able to bring them on board to grow for Agrovista or assess new varieties in a semi commercial trial keeps the job varied and interesting. Farmers continue to amaze me with their ingenuity, thorough knowledge of their farm’s capability and enthusiasm to try new ideas.

What’s most challenging?

The current generation of farmers have effectively been brought up with the NIAB/HGCA/AHDB Recommended List system. The protocol has been adjusted marginally over that time, but principally its still the same; yet farmer’s needs have now changed with grass weed competition issues, emphasis on minimum tillage as opposed to ploughing and depleting numbers of active’s they can use – to name but three. Here at Agrovista we assess varieties for performance in a min-till / no till versus a conventional drilling situation, so can offer detailed performance data on our exclusive varieties. Add to that our knowledge of soil management and interaction with cover crops and the challenge is to offer that data to farmers in a format they can work with and to not feel uncomfortable if that means growing varieties that are not on the Recommended List.

image of a Technical seeds specialist in agricultural