Engineering and Manufacturing

Collaborating with engineers and manufacturers, Agri-EPI explores and delivers precision farming engineering, technology and innovation in agriculture across soil, crops and livestock.Our broad membership includes representatives from engineering and manufacturing in support of UK farming, innovation and technology. We also partner with universities and colleges the length and breadth of the British Isles.

On-farm technical support: introducing Emily Laskin

An interview with Emily Laskin, one of the Agri-EPI Satellite Farm team members who is focused on the technical delivery of on-farm projects. As Projects Assistant, Emily plays a vital role coordinating projects on-farm which includes proposing ideas for trials to farmers, handling day-to-day project activity on farm, sourcing data for projects, assisting with bid writing, and more. Another part of her role is focused on ‘horizon scanning’, which means that part of each day is dedicated to learning about new and upcoming Ag Tech in the industry. Emily Laskin is also the Project Manager on the Paraguay Smart Farm project.

Emily LaskinWhat does a typical day at Agri-EPI Centre look like?

“A typical day is a combination of meetings, calls, email writing, research, and other unique project organisational tasks. Pre-COVID, my team frequently travelled to networking events, on-farm meetings, and conferences as well.”

What has been the best part of your job so far?

“The best part of my job has been getting to know the farmers and getting to see all of the different forms of production across the UK. I love getting out on farm and seeing how each operation is unique.”

Can you tell me about any international work you have done with Agri-EPI Centre?

“I am the Project Manager for the Paraguay Smart Farm project and was lucky to have to opportunity to visit Paraguay in February of this year. The project is currently focused on trialling AgSpace’s Contour platform in the South American climate. The trip illuminated the unique struggles South American farmers face and how different their production methods are from those used in the UK. We were able to network with other Paraguayan companies during the trip and are hoping to do more work there in the future.”

Which research topics are you interested in or currently active in?

“I am currently taking a course on Regenerative Agriculture. I am very interested in how traditional farming practices can be used alongside agri-tech in order to cultivate the land in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way (while increasing profitability!). I’m also very interested in the carbon trading market, animal welfare and sustainable livestock rearing practices, and robotics.”

What do you think the next exciting on-farm technology will be that will make a difference?

“I think one of the areas of research with the most potential to make an impact is soil carbon and the carbon market. If we can figure out how to accurately measure carbon sequestration in the soil we will be able to identify ways of maximising carbon sequestration and thus make a positive impact on climate change. The carbon market will be a great way of incentivising farmers to utilise more sustainable practices.

I think agri-tech has the potential to impact carbon management, animal welfare, and improving yields on farm while decreasing inputs. Technology like satellite imagery and a wide variety of sensors can be used to make more profitable and sustainable decisions on farm.”

Are you doing anything outside of your role?

“It might be interesting which could be interesting that I am taking a course on Regenerative Agriculture by The Savory Institute!”

Which Agri-EPI capability is one to keep an eye out?

“I was involved in the procurement process for a WingtraONE UAV that is currently deployed at Elveden Estate (one of our Satellite Farmers). The drone is used for mapping the fields throughout the growing season. This type of aerial imagery can serve many purposes including providing the framework for variable seed-rate and fertiliser application. I think this type of technology has a lot of untapped potential and I’m excited to see how its applications evolve over time.”

 


Meet the team

With national and international expertise and reach, our team are drawn from throughout the UK with hands-on farming, agri-tech and academic specialisms. Learn more about working at Agri-EPI or meet other members of the Agri-EPI Team.

TAFE first business to take up residence in workshop space Newport

Harper Adams University (HAU) has entered a new international collaboration with India-based Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) to develop advanced technological, agronomic and educational solutions for the delivery of sustainable food production around the world.

TAFE, the world’s third largest tractor manufacturing company in terms of volume, has become the first business to take up residence in the Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, on the university campus, to commence a major, collaborative research and development project.

Agri-EPI Centre is one of the four national Centres for Agricultural Innovation created as part of the £17.7m UK government investment from the UK’s Strategy for Agricultural Technologies to help provide engineering and precision agriculture solutions for the agri-food industry.

The collaboration between TAFE, Harper Adams University and Agri-EPI Centre will include joint research projects and programmes, joint publications and staff exchanges.

Research will be focused on agriculture, engineering and technology development programmes on autonomous farming and energy efficient implements, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and sensor technologies along with the Hands Free Hectare (HFH) project that will be implemented at JFarm India; TAFE’s adaptive agriculture research centre.

Partnership logo TAFE at Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

TAFE President & COO, Mr T R Kesavan said:

“TAFE’s collaboration with Agri-EPI Centre and Harper Adams is a reaffirmation of TAFE’s commitment to its vision of ‘Cultivating the World’ as it aims to combine integrated farming techniques with precision agriculture and engineering to develop sustainable farming models that work for both marginal and large farms. This collaboration will provide opportunities for developing a range of advanced training skills, learning and the promotion of international technology transfer and exchange.”

On the team’s arrival, Harper Adams Agricultural Engineering Lecturer Kit Franklin said: “We at Harper Adams have been building contacts with TAFE for the last 18 months. “It’s great to now have this young and enthusiastic team of engineers from TAFE’s Centre of Excellence here in the UK, where we’re about to start on our first collaborative engineering project. “Along with the completion of the project, I hope the team will get a flavour of British agriculture, helping them to return with fresh new ideas.”

Welcoming them to the Agri-EPI Centre, Lee Williams, Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub Manager, said:

“We’re extremely excited about the first major R&D project coming into the centre but even more so as it’s a large international tractor manufacturer that’s working in collaboration with Harper Adams.”

Source: Harper Adams University