BASIS supports new industry apprenticeship standard

Written by John Swire

A new agricultural and horticultural apprenticeship standard, the Agriculture/ Horticulture Professional Adviser Standard (AHPA), has been launched and is being supported by BASIS through their role as an independent end-point assessment organisation (EPAO).

Designed to support anyone looking to develop a career as a crop production adviser, the AHPA incorporates the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection and/or the FACTS Certificate as key parts of the Standard.

It has come about following industry-wide consultation under the guidance of the Institute of Apprenticeships.

Discussing the new standard, BASIS head of business development, Greg Hopkinson, says AHPA is a great training framework for anyone looking to develop the knowledge and skills required as an adviser in crop production.

“This is a great opportunity for those working in the sector to undertake training in-house with an employer, or via an external training provider,” says Mr Hopkinson.

“Typically, the AHPA lasts up to 30 months and cover the key knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice will require in their day-to-day work.

“It encompasses practical issues such as recording software and crop walking, as well as precision farming, environmental aspects and soil management. In addition, there is a range of ‘soft’ skills such as interpersonal behaviour and communication, health and safety and even driving skills,” he adds.

“By the end of the scheme, an apprentice will have gained the relevant understanding and built up a portfolio to evidence what has been achieved over the period. The final step is the End Point Assessment (EPA) which is conducted by BASIS Registration, as an independent assessor.”

Commenting on the launch, BASIS chief executive Stephen Jacob, says this is a great development for the industry that has great scope to help new entrants start a career.

“AHPA is an exciting step forward in raising professional standards and ensuring advisers working in agriculture and horticulture are well-equipped for the rapidly changing demands of the industry,” says Mr Jacobs.

“We look forward to supporting candidates in the next step in their career.”

Full details of the apprenticeship can be found at:

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Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...