Ian Foot retires from Limagrain

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Ian Foot has announced his retirement from plant breeders Limagrain where he has lead the quality wheat programme for the last 30 years.

Mr Foot’s journey to Limagrain began when he studied biology at the Northeast Surrey College of Technology, followed by further study at the West of Scotland Agricultural College. He completed a degree in agriculture, specialising in Crop Production.

He went on to land a position at Twyford Seeds where he managed seed quality and pathology labs and then began working for plant breeders, Nickerson, in the early 1990s. Having recently been acquired by Limagrain, the company appointed Mr Foot as quality wheat manager where he played a crucial role in developing quality programs that bridged the gap between end-user requirements and wheat breeding for the bread and biscuit sectors.

Working closely with wheat breeder Ron Granger, Mr Foot spearheaded the development of the leading milling variety, Crusoe. Collaborating with the baker, Warburtons, Mr Foot and his team had set out to find a wheat variety that could potentially replace the popular variety, Hereward. This variety had to meet Warburtons’ stringent quality requirements, including the quality of the flour, its functionality, baking performance and colour. For a variety to make a Group 1, it needs to deliver all this consistently.

The creation of Crusoe was a success and was a resounding success in the market. Today, more than a decade later, Crusoe remains one of the leading quality wheats, a testament to Mr Foot’s work and it has just been awarded the NIAB Variety Cup.

Mr Foot remains modest about his achievements and acknowledges the challenges of quality wheat breeding. The complexity of the task, with numerous independent variables to consider, makes it rare for a variety to tick all the boxes and endure in the competitive market. Nevertheless, his passion for science, dedication to his craft, and commitment to improving agriculture have left a lasting impact on the industry.

Mr Foot will be succeeded by Ewa Lagowska.

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