Diss farm contractor receives Best of British bursary from Agrii

Diss-based farming contractor Robert Coe has won a bursary grant from Agrii

Diss-based farming contractor Robert Coe has won a bursary grant from Agrii - Credit: Submitted

A contractor on the Norfolk-Suffolk border has been awarded a £1,500 grant after winning one of four national bursaries aiming to encourage those passionate about the future of British farming.

Robert Coe, 25, from Diss, is one of the recipients of the Best of British farming bursaries offered by agronomy services company Agrii.

The scheme is designed to support courses of study and projects which further the knowledge and development of young farming professionals and are of value to British farming as a whole.

Having purchased a self-propelled sprayer last year with savings from a cereal harvest in Australia and freelance work for East Anglian farmers and contractors, Mr Coe is currently building his own contract-spraying business.

The Harper Adams graduate said he will be investing his bursary award in training, with the aim of gaining a Basis certificate in crop protection.

He hopes extending his knowledge will help him find more innovative solutions to crop diseases and pests, including cabbage stem flea beetle in oilseed rape fields.

'I want to gain a better understanding of pest, disease and weed management to work to far greater effect with my farmer customers and their agronomists to make the most of their crop protection inputs in improving performance,' he said.

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'Observing greater flea beetle activity at dusk, I've already fitted LED lights to my sprayer boom so I can better target this serious pest by operating more confidently at lower light levels. Basis training will, I'm sure, lead me to make further such improvements to the service I provide.'