Farm Automation Innovation Helping to Mitigate Labour Shortage


In the wake of unprecedented geopolitical and pandemic-related changes spanning the last few years, the UK’s agri-food labour shortage has been exacerbated. In the most recent government update released at the start of the year, it was announced that the Seasonal Worker visa scheme will now been extended to the end of 2024. This update includes a forthcoming series of recommendations around an Automation Review, to reduce reliance on labour.

With labour shortages significantly affecting farms and supply chains, the need for innovation in the automation space has become an imperative. Our recent prototype lettuce harvester project in collaboration with PDM, G’s, the University of Bristol, GRIMME and IDS is a great example of the kind of innovation that could assist in mitigating the fallout from these labour shortages. Early predictions for the harvester suggest a possible 50% reduction in labour needs.

Agri-tech and automation innovations continue; in an effort to alleviate manual labour requirements and to keep farms operating effectively, we are working on a number of exciting automation projects with our members that we will be sharing this year. We look forward to future industry and government collaborations continuing to invest in developing these innovations


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