DawnFresh Seafoods signing up to Agri-EPI Farm Network

Stephen Burns (Senior Project Manager) had a great visit to Loch Etive a few weeks ago where he discussed how we would be working with DawnFresh Seafoods as part of our satellite farm network. Dawnfresh is one of the UK’s largest producers of fish and seafood, and the largest trout producer in Britain. Projects discussed included wireless connectivity across the loch to collect sensor data such as water quality and fish health.

Satellite Farm Network

Thirty-two commercial farms have signed up to form the Agri-EPI Centre satellite farm network. They have been carefully selected to provide a wide geographical spread within the UK and give a representative cross-section of UK agriculture. Poultry, pigs, dairy, sheep, beef, cereals, vegetables, horticulture and fish farming are all represented.

Agri-EPI’s Satellite Farm Network can be of benefit to its customers is by providing huge potential for large scale field trials, creating opportunities to benchmark and gauge the commercial impact of new technologies as applied to real world production systems.

Perhaps the most important role that the network plays, is the real connection it gives to industry. Not only does this provide a stream of ideas and problems that farmers have encountered in the field, it also represents an invaluable source of industry knowledge and experience that can feed into other activities.

The list of putative projects continues to grow and it will be very interesting to review the impact of the connected satellite farms on the Centre’s performance in a few years. The satellite farms themselves will continue to be independent, production-orientated businesses throughout. The Agri-EPI team believes this production focus is important and will enhance the commercial impact of the Centre’s work.

~ This synopsis was extracted from an interview with Agri-EPI that was published in the Food and Science Technology Journal in August 2017.

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Workshop Emerging imaging technologies in Agri-Food

Imaging technologies are developing rapidly and their increased use in agri-food could help increase agricultural productivity, reduce food waste and improve food quality. A recent workshop organised by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) brought together the Agri-Food and Imaging communities to explore opportunities for innovation using emerging imaging technologies across the agri-food sector.

Agri-EPI Centre CEO Dave Ross set the scene for the day, showing the amount of food that will have to be produced in the coming years to feed a growing world. The power of imaging technologies in agri-food is one of the key ways yields can be increased. The future of farming was hinted at with a video showing the ‘Hands Free Hectare’ at Harper Adams University.

Event synopsis

You might be interested in the blog that was written of the event by KTN, written by Charlie Winkworth-Smith, Knowledge Transfer Manager – Emerging Technologies, KTN. Posted on 5 February 2018:

‘Emerging imaging technologies in agri-food’

Increased use of imaging technologies in agri-food could help increase agricultural productivity, reduce food waste and improve food quality.

Imaging technologies are developing rapidly and their increased use in agri-food could help increase agricultural productivity, reduce food waste and improve food quality. The event highlighted how emerging imaging technologies are vital for continued innovation in the agri-food industry. Professor Simon Pearson from the University of Lincoln, who chaired the workshop, commented that imaging technology is the backbone of precision agriculture as DNA is to bioscience.

Dave Ross from the Agri-EPI Centre set the scene for the day, showing the amount of food that will have to be produced in the coming years to feed a growing world. The power of imaging technologies in agri-food is one of the key ways yields can be increased. The future of farming was hinted at with a video showing the Hands Free Hectare at Harper Adams University.

Dr Martin Whitworth from Campden BRI showed how imaging technologies are being implemented in the food industry, with ovens being placed inside medical X-Ray CT scanners to monitor the structure of cakes during baking, hyperspectral imaging used to map the composition of food and thermal imaging being used to validate cooking instructions.

Dr Dorian Parker from M Squared Lasers showed how imaging technologies originally developed for the defence sector are now being adapted to detect the whisky escaping from casks. Optical fingerprinting is now able to differentiate whiskies by brand, age or even type of cask used. The first use cases of single pixel quantum imaging were also discussed, from methane imaging to seeing through tinted glass.

Opportunities for the space sector in precision agriculture were highlighted by Mark Jarman from the Satellite Applications Catapult. Hyperspectral imaging, thermal imaging and synthetic aperture radar are all technologies that are now being utilised to give farmers more information about their crops to help increase yields.

The use of imaging in the ruminant sector was explored by Dr Carol-Anne Duthie from SRUC. Time of flight 3D cameras can be mounted on water troughs which automatically capture images of animals to monitor the health of the animal. Thermal imaging can be used to identify inflammation, bruises or tendon injuries days before they will be visible to the farmer. After slaughter, visible and near infra-red spectroscopy is a non-invasive technique that can help predict cooking loss, composition, mechanical tenderness and sensory traits.

Dr Wenhao Zhang from the Centre for Machine Vision at the Bristol Robotics Lab showed that facial recognition of pigs is now possible. He also showed that 3D imaging can be a valuable tool for plant phenotyping as it will help indicate plant health and reveal gene induced traits. Imaging technologies are beginning to be used for weed detection in fields which could potentially reduce herbicide use by in excess of 90%.

Dr Simon Plant from Innovate UK and Dr Katherine Lutteroth from BBSRC updated the audience on all the funding opportunities available, in particular, the Emerging & Enabling and Health & Life Sciences competitions that are currently open, as well as the LINK scheme and Industry Partnership Awards. Dr Russ Bromley also highlighted the extra funding for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships that is currently available.

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.