From potatoes to putting: meet Donald Paterson

From potatoes to putting: meet Donald Paterson

9th December 2021

What do you make happen at Scottish Agronomy?

At Scottish Agronomy I am part of the advisory team on both combinable crops and potatoes. On the cereals side I carry out crop walking for a number of 1-to-1 farmer members and help with group meetings from Fife up to Aberdeenshire. While on the potatoes my main responsibility is to help undertake seed potato inspections from the North of England up to Easter Ross.

What’s the best part of the job?

The best part of the job is the variety throughout the year and following field crops or trials right through from sowing to harvest.  During the spring, summer, and autumn I am regularly crop walking at farms all across the country and learning from the different ideas that a lot of the members are testing. While, on a cold and wet winters day going through trials results or preparing presentations is not such a bad job after all!

What is your favourite time of year and why?

Spring, when the new growing season begins, and everything starts to get busy again. After the winter its good to get back out onto farms again and start to put into place some of the ideas that we have been discussing during the winter meetings.

How did you get to where you are today?

I joined Scottish Agronomy as a trials officer in 2011 and was part of the trials team carrying out the cereal and potato trials. During that time, I completed my BASIS and FACTS qualifications and have since gradually increased my responsibilities on the advisory side of the business.

What, for you, makes Scottish Agronomy stand apart?

I feel the thing that makes Scottish Agronomy stand apart is that the advice we provide to the members is based on the trials data that we generate across the country. This helps members to understand what varieties or products work best in their local area, rather than relying on national trial results. Also, with many members trialling cover crops or different cultivation systems on their own farms, the group meetings provide a good way of sharing ideas among the membership.

What has been the greatest highlight of your career so far?

Working my way up through the trials team to become an agronomist. Now being able to go round farms and see how the trials data helps aid members decisions is very rewarding.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you

Outside of work I enjoy a round of golf at the weekends.  The highlight of this year’s golf trips was the chance to play a round on the Old Course at St Andrews. It’s safe to say that the professionals make it look much easier on the tv!

 

 

 

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