Animal, soil and plant analyses are becoming increasingly important tools in farm and environmental management, and rapid growth at Cawood Scientific has brought all of these strands together.
The firm, which is the UK’s largest independent provider of analytical laboratory testing services for the land-based industries, has acquired three new businesses over the past 12 months, significantly expanding its capability and overall service offer to its customers.
“Farm and environmental managers are increasingly basing their decision-making on sound science, to better target inputs and improve efficiencies,” says managing director Nigel Patrick. “As leading specialists in this area it made sense to expand our services, to offer a complete package of analytical services across the entire agricultural, horticultural and environmental sectors.”
The first acquisition; Mambo-Tox, specialises in soil ecotoxicology, which evaluates agrochemicals for their efficacy in laboratory and field conditions, as well as their impact on non-target insects like honeybees. Based at Southampton University, the firm offers research and robust data for international agchem businesses who are seeking regulatory approval for their products.
Hot on the heels of that purchase came St David’s Laboratory Services in Dungannon, County Tyrone – which has been rebranded as Sci-Tech (Ireland). Specialising in poultry serology, it carries out diagnostic work for poultry producers and vets throughout Ireland, and complements the work carried out at Cawood’s existing Sci-Tech laboratories in Shropshire.
“Our laboratories offer high quality microbiological and blood testing across all aspects of poultry and porcine production – from the hatchery to the abattoir,” explains Mr Patrick. “Not only can this help pinpoint potential health issues, but also demonstrate compliance with industry regulation.”
The most recent acquisition is Enitial, which offers environmental monitoring and support services. Based in Wolverhampton, the company has over 70 accredited samplers (operating throughout the UK) who monitor emissions and pollution from, for example, landfill sites and water treatment works. “Enitial is a good fit for Cawood, as our accredited analytical testing service is now joined by an accredited sampling team,” says Mr Patrick. “Our entire focus is on the delivery of sound science to help customers manage their businesses effectively and profitably.”
The new business divisions sit alongside Cawood’s existing arms: Sciantec Analytical Services in Yorkshire – whose services encompass all aspects of animal nutrition; NRM Laboratories in Berkshire and Norfolk – which provides agricultural, horticultural and environmental services within the land-based industries; and Sci-Tech Laboratories in Shropshire – a specialist veterinary diagnostic facility. Together these provide a complete analytical solution for businesses engaged in agricultural crop production, animal nutrition, horticultural, amenity, environmental and related industries.
“There is a growing concern about the health of our soils,” says Lord Donald Curry, chairman of Cawood Scientific. “It featured very strongly in the Government’s Health and Harmony consultation document. We need to respond to this concern with targeted action, which requires intelligent data,” he adds. “Cawood Scientific can provide independent data to allow agricultural managers to better utilise their inputs, whether growing crops or keeping livestock, and in doing so improve their productivity.”