YEN Conference 2023 Speakers

Tim Isaac

Associate Partner, Saffron Walden

Tim achieved a first-class degree in agricultural business management at Wye College before starting his career as a farm consultant. He subsequently gained a diploma in rural surveying and qualified as an agricultural valuer.
Tim went on to become the east region surveyor for the Country Land and Business Association , advising and representing members on all aspects of land and farm business management, before joining the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board as its regional manager. He pioneered the Monitor Farm programme in East Anglia and took on responsibility for managing the national arable team.
Tim was then appointed director of knowledge exchange with responsibility for the network of Strategic Farms, Monitor Farms, discussion groups and technical events in all sectors across the UK and was awarded Fellowship of the Institute of Agricultural Management.
Tim has chaired a number of farming organisations and events, sits on various industry committees and recently completed his term as President of Essex Agricultural Valuers Association.
He lives on a small farm with a large family and keeps fit by setting himself physical challenges and trying to keep up with his children’s various sporting activities.

Roger Sylvester-Bradley

Head of Crop Performance, ADAS

After a career spanning more than 40 years, Roger says there has never been a more exciting time to be a crop scientist, so he refuses to retire! He believes we need to act urgently to enhance crop yields globally and is delighted with the enthusiastic support from both industry and academia for the YEN initiative.

Tom Allen-Stevens

Farmer and Founder of Bofin

Tom Allen-Stevens is an arable farmer and founder of BOFIN ( He is an award-winning journalist with 23 years’ experience in communicating to an arable farming audience and collaborating with farmers on field trials. He has focused on conveying technical innovations, especially in plant breeding, to a more progressive farming audience, including early adopters. He is a former director and chair of the Oxford Farming Conference with a family farm in Oxfordshire. BOFIN is a network of more than 740 members who carry out on-farm trials, looking for a more scientific approach to progressing farm practice; 51% of the membership are farmers, and the remainder are scientists, knowledge exchange managers, tech innovators and the ‘just curious’. BOFIN has a number of projects underway, including the Nitrogen Efficient Plants for Climate Smart Arable Cropping Systems (NCS) project, Strategies Leading to Improved Management and Enhanced Resilience against Slugs (SLIMERS), (soil/root health), ‘slug-resistant’ wheat, harvest weed seed control and soil fungal communities.

Cereal Session

Sarah Kendall

Crop Physiologist, ADAS

Sarah has worked at ADAS as a crop physiologist for ten years, after completing her PhD at the University of York. Sarah grew up on an arable farm in East Yorkshire and now lives on a mixed farm in Nottinghamshire. Sarah has a keen interest in understanding factors affecting cereal and oilseed rape yields, and how this understanding can be used by growers to make improvements. She is keen to support growers in optimising their crop nutrition strategies through improved measurements.

Giles Dadd


Giles has had a long career in agriculture working as a farmer’s assistant and as a farm management specialist and a technical specialist at ICI Fertilisers within the mainstream arable and grassland sectors. After leaving the company in 1990, he set up his own consultancy, with an increasing interest in soils and the relationship between soil nutrient levels and the uptake by crops. This developed into the use of soil probes, irrigation, plant analysis and root development.

Anne Bhogal

Principal Soil Scientist, ADAS

Anne is a principal soil scientist at ADAS and is involved in the research and development of policies on soil and nutrient management. She has a particular interest in the impact of organic amendments and cover cropping on soil quality, carbon storage and nutrient cycling. Recent research includes leading long-term studies investigating the impact of organic manure and crop residue returns on soil quality and carbon storage and looking at ways to maximise the benefits of cover crops. She is a FACTS qualified adviser and a Fellow of the British Society of Soil Science.

Jennie Watson

Development Manager, Hutchinsons

From a farming background in Devon, Jennie chose to study Applied Biology at Cardiff University. She spent 15 years in R&D working on the development of close to market crop protection products, both hands on and project managing field trials, at two global agchem companies. Jennie joined Hutchinsons three years ago, with her focus now more holistic, to provide solutions to support agronomists and growers to be more productive and profitable. Hutchinsons have been actively involved with YEN right from its beginnings 10 years ago, with many growers and agronomists benefiting from the benchmarking and detailed reports produced.

David Blacker

Grower - N Blacker & Son

David farms on a 500ac arable farm north of York. He manages a contracting business covering a further 1000ac. He is BASIS and FACTS qualified and undertakes his own in-house agronomy.

David has 20 years’ experience with precision farming technologies uses variable rate nitrogen spreading, variable rate drilling, and yield mapping. The predominantly clay loam soils have been strip-till planted directly into stubbles since changing policy from full inversion of soil back in 2012. David has been involved in many research projects over the years looking at nitrogen, cover crop nutrition soil structure and field drainage. David is currently Strategic Farm North for AHDB.

Milling Wheat Session

Joe Brennan

Technical Manager , UK Flour Millers

Joe Brennan is the technical manager at UK Flour Millers, where he covers food safety, wheat assurance, wheat breeding and milling industry research. Prior to joining UK Flour Millers, he obtained a degree in natural sciences and worked in biogas research.

Sarah Clarke

Technical Director, Crop Physiology, ADAS

Sarah has been a crop physiologist at ADAS since 2008 and now co-leads the group. Her practical farming background means she is keen to improve the physiological understanding, agronomy and sustainable productivity of crops for growers and the agricultural supply chain. She has particular interests in grain quality and oats physiology/agronomy.

Mark Tucker

Marketing and Agronomy Manager, Yara Europe

Following achieving a degree in Agricultural Botany at Reading University in 1989, Mark worked as a commercial agronomist in the agricultural supply industry, advising farmers on both plant protection and crop nutrition for 10 years. Following this he spent two years as an independent agronomist for Aubourn Farming in Norfolk. In 2002 Mark joined Yara UK Ltd as their Company Agronomist, directing the agronomic policies, R & D, and interacting with the marketing function. In 2011 he completed The Frank Arden Nuffield Scholarship titled ‘Life after Manufactured Fertilizer – Nitrogen’. In 2012 he became the Chief Agronomist for Yara BU North and East Europe which has given him experience with other crops, including Soybean, and precision farming developments in agricultural environments from Russia, Ukraine, The Baltics, Finland and the Nordic region. In September 2015 he returned to Yara UK and is currently the Marketing and Agronomy Manager, Yara UK & Ireland.

Kathryn Hamlen

Wheat and Malting Barley Marketing Manager, Syngenta

Kathryn has worked at Syngenta for 15 years as a trialist in research and development crop protection, technical manager for wheat and malting barley varieties in both the UK and across Northwestern Europe and now as marketing manager for wheat and malting barley in the UK and Ireland. She is passionate about breeding new varieties that bring value to growers and end users alike, and much of the focus in recent Syngenta trials has been on producing profitable crops in a sustainable manner.

Chris Eglington


Chris Eglington farms ~1000 acres in Norfolk on a diverse range of soil types. He uses controlled-traffic farming and most of his inputs are variable rate. He regularly enters wheat, oilseed rape or pea crops into YEN and has received several awards, including for his milling wheat crops.

Oilseed Session

Pete Berry

Head of Crop Physiology, ADAS

Pete is Head of Crop Physiology at ADAS where he has worked for 20 years. Before this, he was a researcher and lecturer at the University of Nottingham, where he also gained his PhD on predicting lodging risk in wheat. His aims are to improve the performance of cropping systems and provide sound practical advice for the farming industry based on rigorous and high-quality research. Important areas of his research include increasing crop yields sustainably, optimising crop nutrition, exploiting precision farming technologies and lodging control.

Duncan Coston


Duncan has worked on agricultural entomology for over 10 years. Having worked extensively on ecosystem service provision from pollinators and natural enemy pest control, to the impact and risks posed by arable pests. His PhD was based at Rothamsted Research and the University of Reading and focused on how to manage autumn pest pressure in OSR with a focus on IPM and a deeper understanding on the biology of the cabbage stem flea beetle in a post neonicotinoid growing system. 

Having joined ADAS in 2021 he has continued his work on CSFB and wider integrated pest management. Duncan's main research interest and focus is on pest/ crop interactions and how the pest interacts with the crop and how to crop responds to pest pressure. 

Fraser Hill

Agronomist, Premium Crops

Fraser's main role is to provide technical advice to farmers and agronomists, specialising in the portfolio of crops Premium Crops contract grow. These include Winter and Spring Linseed, HEAR and HOLL OSR, Canary Seed, Naked Oats, Red Wheat, Borage and Millet. He is the primary contact for agronomic technical information for all crops for the network of Cefetra grain origination team which consists of 30 personnel dotted across the whole of the UK. Premium Crops runs a detailed and extensive trials program each year for our Oilseed crops, analysing both varietal and agronomic traits within our portfolio. This is led from a technical waypoint and then extrapolated commercially to ensure information we are providing growers is beneficial to them for achieving maximum profitability. This then complements our bespoke premium based buyback contracts for all our Oilseed options to give farmers a full service all the way from variety screening to buying back and marketing their Oilseed crop to high value end users

Richard Budd

Director, Stevens Farm (Hawkhurst) Ltd

Richard is a director Stevens Farm which is a 1400 hectare arable and top fruit farm based on the Kent-Sussex border. Before rejoining the family farming business, Richard gained a degree in botany at Nottingham University and then worked in the fine wine trade in London for 9 years. Since returning to the farm, Richard and his father have set out to expand their arable operation from the originally owned 125 hectares to today’s 1200 hectares. The farm has been direct drilling for the past 10 years, and utilising YEN for the past 7 years to gain a more in-depth knowledge of crop performance and improving the farm’s average yields.

Annabel Hamilton

Grower - Bee Edge Farm

Annabel Hamilton farms in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland with her Father, Will and Mother, Carol. Farming 2,700 acres on predominantly grade 3 and 4 soils on the East Berwickshire coast. Winter cropping makes up 80% of the area with remaining land in spring barley, oats and ground rented out for potatoes.

The farming business consists mainly of contract farming agreements along with some rented ground – with this in mind any farming decisions must be financially sound and allowing landowners to have trust in our farming practices.

Our arable system is high input and high output and with our CFA’s, margins are incredibly important whilst remembering that yield is king in the agreements which we are involved in.

Pulse Session

Charlotte White

Senior Research Scientist, Crop Physiology, ADAS

Charlotte joined ADAS Crop Physiology in 2011 after gaining her PhD from the University of Nottingham on the water use efficiency of tomatoes. She works on a variety of projects that focus on root systems, water use and improving yield through an understanding of crop physiology, breeding and agronomy. Charlotte has achieved the BASIS Soil and Water Management certificate and is convener of the Association of Applied Biologists soil and root biology group. Her particular interests include plant root systems and the rhizosphere, crop water use, legumes and cover cropping and the impact of these on soil and crop performance.

Steve Belcher

Principle Technical Officer, PGRO

Steve graduated with a degree in applied biology, specialising in plant science and pathology and biochemistry from what is now Nottingham Trent University. He has worked at Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) since 1985 and currently holds the post of principal technical officer. His responsibilities are wide and varied, but he has had overall responsibility for variety trialling at PGRO, which includes the management and delivery of the descriptive list trials programme for pulse crops (combining peas and field beans) and vegetable descriptive lists[CD1] . He aims to give straightforward, no-nonsense, practical advice to growers of peas and beans.

Iain Ford

Buisness Development Manager, BASF

Iain comes from a farming background and spent almost ten years working ‘on farm’ as an agronomist. Since joining BASF in 2002, Iain has worked in technical roles covering product development, bio dossier preparation, technical support and business development. His current role involves working closely with independent influencers and distributors to develop the technical direction for both new and existing products across the BASF pulse, maize and sugar beet portfolios. The role also has a commercial focus through the provision of technical advice and support across the BASF product range for one of the largest distributor customers in the UK.

Keith Costello

Pea Agronomist and Independent Pea Consultant

Keith is an independent pea consultant with 50 years’ experience in the pea industry. He retired in November 2015 after working for 41 years as a pea fieldsman/agronomist, working with UK growers and factories, primarily for the Batchelors vining and dried pea brands, but his passion for peas has remained undimmed, so in 2016 he became an independent pea consultant, sharing his experience and knowledge with all interested industry stakeholders to help to sustainably improve this specialist legume crop’s potential yield and quality in a challenging and changing maritime climate.

Andrew Robinson

Farm Director, Heathcote Farms Ltd

After studying at both Myerscough College and Seale-Hayne College, Andrew started his farming career in Shropshire in 1993 before heading to Australia in 1996 to work for an agricultural spraying company. Returning to the UK, he worked in Essex for eight years, progressing to farm manager with roots and irrigation experience. In 2004, Andrew moved to his current role in Bedfordshire, managing 1200 hectares of combinable crops along with a small residential and commercial property portfolio.

He has full financial responsibility for the business and now looks after the development, renewables, cables and battery storage parts of the business, with some projects now being undertaken.

Andrew is a vice chairman at Crop Marketing Groups (CMG) and has held positions of both vice and chair of the local branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU).

BASIS and FACTS qualified, Andrew won the Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year along with the prestigious overall Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year in 2019 and was The National Association of British and Irish Millers (NABIM) Milling Wheat Grower of the Year in 2012.

YEN Zero Session

Sarah Wynn

Managing Director, ADAS Climate and Sustainability

Sarah leads the ADAS Climate and Sustainability business, providing support to farmers, advisers, food supply chains and government in reducing the environmental impact of agricultural production. She has 20 years’ experience in the agriculture sector across both crops and livestock and has spent most of the last 15 years focusing on understanding the climate impact of agriculture. She is an expert in greenhouse gas emission assessments, having built a range of bespoke models, as well as using off-the-shelf ones. She is the lead trainer in the BASIS Certificate in Greenhouse Gases, Carbon and Climate Change Mitigation course.

David Fuller-Shapcott

Grower and Managing Director, JN Fuller-Shapcott & Co. Sweethope Farm, Kelso

David has been running the family farm in the Scottish Borders for the last 24 years. Having left Shuttleworth College with an HND in 1987, he travelled throughout both New Zealand and Australia before returning home in late 1988.

He has been involved in YEN from the start and was a member of the steering committee for YEN YYT. He is also an international conference speaker. Sweethope Farm is a mostly arable farm located on the northern edge of the River Tweed valley, growing cereals and oilseed rape. Soils are mostly brown forest gley (imperfectly permeable), very high in magnesium and extremely sticky when wet!

Megan Tresise

Climate and Sustainability Consultant, ADAS

Megan is a climate and sustainability consultant at ADAS and is project manager of YEN Zero. Her interests are primarily in the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from farming systems and agricultural products but also the mitigation of those emissions in order to reduce agriculture’s impacts on climate change. She is also finishing off a PhD at the University of Leeds in this area.

Peter Scott

Technical Director, Origin Fertilisers

Peter Scott is the technical director of Origin’s fertiliser businesses in the UK and Ireland, where he is responsible for research and development, product development and a national team of nutrition agronomists. Across his 39 years in the fertiliser industry, Peter has chaired the Agricultural Industries Confederation’s fertiliser sector, is a past president of the International Fertiliser Society and is currently president of the European Fertiliser Blenders Association. Origin is currently engaged in developing a range of products and services to reduce emissions from fertilisers.

Daniel Kindred

Crop Scientist, Anglo American

Daniel grew up on an arable farm, studied agriculture at University of Nottingham and obtained a PhD in Agronomy from Reading University. He worked as a Crop Physiologist for ADAS for 18 years, working to understand yield and nutrient requirements of arable crops, developing expertise in nitrogen responses, biofuels, crop GHG emissions, sensing technologies and precision farming. Daniel is proud to have been involved in the initiation of the YEN in 2012, and in the development of Agronomics and FarmPEP approaches to on-farm research and knowledge exchange. In 2023 Daniel joined Anglo American Crop Nutrients as Crop Scientist, helping to understand, innovate and improve nutrient performance. Anglo American is developing the largest mine for polyhalite (Poly4), a low carbon natural mineral fertiliser containing sulphur, potassium, magnesium & calcium that will be sold around the world from North Yorkshire.