The intractable issue of getting useful new technologies onto farms – and how the barriers to success might be overcome – will be the subject of a webinar led by tech innovation company Cambridge Consultants and Agri-EPI Centre on Thursday 28th January.
The event will feature expert panellists representing different stages of the innovation ‘pipeline’:
- Ben Scott Robinson, Chief Executive of The Small Robot Company*(concept)
- Chris Roberts, Head of Industrial Robotics at Cambridge Consultants (supporting concept development)
- Dave Ross, Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive (‘enabler’ bringing together public and private sector partners)
- James Green, Group Director of Agriculture at G’s Fresh (on-farm end user)
The panel will explore some of the key issues involved in ensuring a new idea can move from concept stage right through to being put to effective use in supporting efficient, productive and sustainable farming.
Connecting early tech development to farming
They will be looking at a host of challenges along the innovation journey, including a disconnect between early technology developers and farmers; difficulties in companies finding the right business models and return-on-investment for their products; regulatory issues; skills gaps; and challenges with product testing in a seasonal farming environment.
Event host, Cambridge Consultants’ Head of Automation & Autonomy Sajith Wimalaratne, explained:
“We’re excited to have a strong panel of experts who will be discussing why it takes so long to get new technological solutions onto farms, and why, despite no shortage of concepts, there is currently so little farmers can use.
“We hope to identify ways of easing some of these issues that will help to ensure new technology which really meets farmers’ needs can be deployed more quickly and effectively.”
Agri-EPI Chef Executive Dave Ross said:
“Agri-EPI’s role is to bring together those with the know-how to drive innovation in farming and food production and our webinar promises to be a really exciting journey around the key challenges and potential solutions to getting technology in place that really meets farmers’ needs.”
The free webinar runs between 11am and noon on 28th January. Further details and registration can be found here.
BBC The One Show
You might have missed it. Small Robot Tom and roboteers have appeared on the BBC The One Show this Monday 18 January 2020. The appearance saw the weed zapping robot in action and an interview with Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year Craig Livingstone. Small Robot Company is a British start-up that makes robots for agriculture. They design and produce machines that could, in the future, replace tractors and harvesters. The founders developed the idea after talking to farmers about the growing costs and decreasing profits of farming. More background about Small Robot Company in this case study.