How do the innovative technologies and approaches, being devised and trialled through Agri-EPI Centre, make their way to the front line of UK farming? A key route is through the Centre’s 28 satellite farms, a network of commercial enterprises covering all major agricultural commodities.
Research and Development
The farms are set up as test-beds for research and development to aid the improvement of productivity and efficiency within the farm and across the sector. The network will measure key elements within each farming system using cutting edge agriculture techniques and equipment, such as robotics, sensors, satellite imagery, soil analysis and precision feeding and nutrient application.
The results of studies on each farm will be used in three ways: each farm will demonstrate and highlight successful innovations to others in the industry through on-farm meetings (each farm has its own dedicated meeting and research space with full Wi-Fi connectivity and presentation facilities); tech companies will work with the farms to test new products before taking them to market; data collected from across the network will be of value to government, researchers and the supply chain in identifying current trends and future developments.
Introducing Upper Nisbet Farm
One of the satellite farms signed up with Agri-EPI Centre is Upper Nisbet Farm in the Scottish Borders. Upper Nisbet Farm runs a beef finishing enterprise with a 320 head of cattle and 636.25 hectare of arable and grassland. This video outlines the Satellite Farm concept, projects ongoing and which systems are trialled in collaboration with commercial partners. The data collected helps to understand where inefficiencies are entering the farming system, allowing Agri-EPI Centre to identify areas to target innovation. The satellite farm, in return, can improve efficiency and become more profitable.
Agri-EPI Centre’s Projects and Technical Manager Stephen Burns explained there has been strong interest from farms around the UK in membership of the satellite network.
“We have sought to select farms with strong links into the major retailers and which have a good track record of innovation and knowledge exchange. So far, the network covers enterprises producing beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, dairy, cereals and fish. We’re also seeking to recruit fruit and salad suppliers.”
If you would like more information about the Satellite Farm Network, please contact Agri-EPI Centre via firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch this space for more news on the Satellite Farm Network as the initiative progresses.