Andrew Christie is an Agronomist and Agri-Technologist at crop, soil and environmental research centre The James Hutton Institute. A third generation farmer himself, his role is key in bridging the gap between academic research and practical agriculture.
I grew up on my family farm and still work on it, so I have an understanding of agriculture and farmers that I bring to my job.
Part of his role is ensuring the 270 hectares of the institute’s farm are maintained to facilitate the research. He:
- procures seed for field trials
- takes crop walks to monitor growth and check for disease
- keeps records of all work carried out.
Alongside plant protection, he also provides a link between the scientists and the farm team.
I translate the science into a format that our Field Trials Officers can easily apply and put into practice, whether that’s trial layouts, seed or fertiliser rates, or testing different chemicals in different areas. It ensures what’s going on in the fields matches the academic side.
Andrew also contributes to the ecological sciences department, where he has input into projects, report writing and data processing from large scale field trials. As well as his wealth of knowledge from his degree in agriculture and professional qualifications, the scientists also benefit from Andrew’s first-hand farming experience.
I provide advice and opinions based on my experience as well as the theory. Through my farming contacts, I’m able to help engage farmers in the research.
Engagement is important to Andrew. Every year, he helps open the institute’s farm to the public, so they can understand more about ongoing field trials, allowing him to communicate his passion for agriculture which hasn’t waned since his youth.
At school, I’d tell my teacher I couldn’t do the homework because it was harvest time…and I’d spent all my time out on the tractor!
Last updated: 4 June 2021