A soil testing robot, a drone that collects real-time, leaf-level crop data and a range of sensors aiding precision livestock management were amongst technologies on display at two recent innovation events held by the UK’s four Agri-Tech Centres.
Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP (Crop Health and Protection) and CIEL (the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) held the two on-farm events in March at Newcastle University’s Cockle Park Farm in Northumberland. The aim was to showcase practical examples of their work to support sustainable global food production. The first event focused on plants and crops, the second on livestock.
More than 300 delegates from agri-tech, agri-food, science and policy attended across the two days to see and hear about the latest advancements in technologies and capabilities from the Centres and their research partners.
A series of practical demonstrations and talks highlighted the progress that is being made in support of the UK’s Industrial Strategy of ‘Transforming Food Production’.
The aim was to stimulate further opportunities for collaboration supported by the Centres’ capabilities and networks. The demonstrations were well received, with both exhibitors and delegates reporting that new opportunities are emerging as a result of contacts made at the events.
A huge thank you to the Agri-EPI partners who supported the events by demonstrating their projects: Drone AG; Rhiza; SoilEssentials; Wyoming Interactive; Ritchie Agricultural; Ice Robotics; Smartbell: Harper Adams; SRUC; and Cranfield, Lincoln and Strathclyde Universities.
Their contributions at the arable event included a field demonstration of agricultural robots and drones, including Agri-Rover, an autonomous robot developed by Strathclyde University that can conduct chemical soil tests in a timely and cost-effective way. The livestock event included a demonstration of the role of a variety of sensors in precision livestock management, featuring the Beef Monitor being developed by Agri-EPI Centre and industry partners and involving trials at Agri-EPI satellite farms.
Ian Cox, Innovate UK’s Innovation Lead for the Agri-Tech Centres, said:
“The UK is home to research and industries at the forefront of understanding crops and livestock. By highlighting the crucial role of this sector at these events we demonstrate how funding research and innovation projects can transform the precision crop and livestock agricultural sectors. This is a crucial part of the government’s industrial strategy to create the industries and jobs of tomorrow.”