Upskilling industry with AHDB Developing Pig Expertise Programme

AHDB is currently seeking participants to join the pilot Developing Pig Expertise (DPE) Programme. The DPE Programme is a series of practical workshops during which individuals working in the pig industry can share knowledge and experience to build an increased understanding of how value is created along the supply chain. We invite our members to look into the details of the DPE Programme and submit expressions of interest.

Pig Development programme

The Developing Pig Expertise (DPE) Programme is being piloted to provide professional development to individuals that advise pig producers and upskill new entrants to the industry. DPE has been influenced by the successful AHDB Beef & Lamb Developing Expertise programmes, AHDB Educational Strategy, and Knowledge Exchange (KE) offer within the academic and commercial sectors.

The aim of the DPE Programme is to widen the network of experts available to support the AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange delivery plan, including:

  • Facilitation of and presentation at events and training courses
  • Contribution to resource development, including written materials, tools and videos
  • Technical input within the Farm Excellence programme
  • Engagement within the Pig Innovation Network (PiN) and H2020 EUPiG project

Further information about AHDB Pork can be found on the website.

Detecting pig tail biting by TailTech

Tail biting in pigs is viewed as one of the most widespread and seriously aggressive behaviours that can manifest in a pigpen. Discover TailTech — a radical high-tech solution devised by Scottish scientists as an alternative to the controversial last-resort practice of tail docking in piglets.  For more information about the TailTech pig welfare project, click here.

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.

Ground-breaking SmartFarm concept takes shape in Beijing

he exciting collaboration between the UK and China around agri-tech innovation has taken a step forward following a visit to Beijing by an Innovate UK delegation – including Agri-EPI Centre representatives – to progress the ground-breaking SmartFarm concept.

The aim of SmartFarm is to develop a holistic approach to the food supply chain for a more efficient and sustainable approach to farming and food production. Beginning with the Agri-EPI-led pilot ‘SmartFarm 1.0’ in China, the plan is to create a transferable model for utilising a range of technology to gather data on inputs and outputs, in order to measure and reduce variation and increase productivity at all levels of the supply chain.

Ian Cox, Innovate UK’s Agri-Tech Centres Innovation Lead, said:

This concept is easy to talk about but difficult to deliver. We hope to take a radically different approach to the way normal projects work in that we are trying to identify the causes of a problem as opposed to treating the symptoms of it. This approach will give us a better understanding of the efficiency of the entire agri-food system.

UK-China SmartFarm DelegationAgri-EPI Centre will work closely with a variety of Chinese partners to progress ‘SmartFarm 1.0’. The key partner organisations are NERCITA, the National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture, who will host the main elements of the Smart Farm 1.0. The other key partner is Chinese Ministry of Science and Technologies China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC) who will oversee the Chinese delivery partners. The initial focus will be technology associated with arable crops to create a better understanding of productivity from the land resource.

During this visit to Beijing, the SmartFarm Construction Plan was signed by Innovate UK and CRTDC. This plan will enable CRTDC to proceed with the SmartFarm programme on the ground in China. Ian Cox along with Agri-EPI Chairman Willie Thomson and Chief Executive Dave Ross also took part in a number of meetings and workshops with senior Chinese politicians, government officials and scientists.

Dave Ross said:

We are delighted to participate in this brand-new venture, which should develop data combined with a holistic approach, to understand current levels of productivity and provide the insight to deliver improvements.

China is serious in its intent to modernise its agriculture over the next few years and improve the efficiency, productivity and environmental standards. Its 13th 5-year plan on Science and Innovation, adopted in 2016, has agri-tech at the heart of the programme, with a huge £1.5 billion of government investment in this area between 2016 and 2021.

Following on from this, Innovate UK and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technologies China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016, in which both parties agreed to explore mutual collaboration covering the following areas:

  • big data in agriculture
  • precision agriculture
  • intelligent agricultural equipment
  • prevention and control of crop and animal diseases
  • agricultural biotechnology to explore improvements in crop health and protection
  • nutrition and health developing high quality nutritious foods which meet the needs of future consumers

SmartFarm is a key component of the Agri-Tech Flagship challenge, one of the major deliverables under the UK-China Science Technology and Innovation Strategy signed last December in London.


SmartFarm partners

Department for International Trade
Logo Innovate UK
University of Strathclyde

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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.

Demonstration of positive effects of Precision Soil Mapping

Agri-EPI Centre hosted a Precision Soil Mapping Showcase Event to demonstrate how Precision Soil Mapping can take precision farming to the next level. The project, in conjunction with AgSpace, IPF, Cranfield University and James Hutton Institute, is near completion. This event presented the commercial benefits of the projects. Specifically, how it can lower the entry cost to precision farming making it more viable for a wider community.

The challenge

The benefits of precision farming, dividing land into management zones according to soil characteristics, has been proven to yield better results when compared to conventional farming. The perceived high entry cost into precision farming has long been a barrier to entry for some smaller arable farmers.

Agri-EPI Centre held a number of workshops over the country in conjunction with LEAF and Innovative Farmers to gain feedback on the development of the precision soil map and identify areas of future development in the wider precision farming industry. These events were held at Agri-EPI Satellite Farms across the country each with a specific focus such as conventional arable, mixed farming and organic farming.

Read more information about the Soil Mapping project here.

If you would like to know more about the outcomes of the project or this event, please contact us via

Collaboration partners

Precision Soil Mapping Showcase event August 2018 partners

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.