Gary Johnston, farm trader at John Guthrie based in Forfar, has been awarded a highly accredited Fertiliser Advisers Certificate (FACTS).
With more than 20 years of experience trading barley and seeds with farmers in Angus and the north of Scotland, Gary is benefiting from the company’s commitment to ongoing development and training.
The new qualification will increase Gary’s knowledge of the optimum application of fertiliser so that he can help to advise farmers on the best treatment of the barley, ensuring the maximum yield for the crop.
The production of barley is crucial to the expansion of the malting and whisky industries.
Gary, who lives in Brechin, said: “In recent years there have been advancements in soil science so the application of fertiliser has become more technical. Fertiliser is a significant cost for farmers so it’s really important to make the most efficient use of it.
“After 20 years I’ve come to know the farms, the farmers and their families really well. This qualification supplements that experience with further technical knowledge which will benefit my customers.”
John Guthrie is part of McCreath, Simpson & Prentice (MSP), a Simpsons Malt company and vice-chairman Richard Simpson praised Gary for his recent success.
He said: “We pride ourselves on managing the quality of the process from start to finish, from sourcing the best seeds to supporting our growers to produce the best barley; Gary has a deep knowledge of the farmers he works with and the highest industry qualifications complement this.”
FACTS exams are recognised by the fertiliser industry, Defra and the Environment Agency as a means of setting standards, training and accrediting continual professional development among those providing nutrient management advice.