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Thought leadership: Innovation in Scottish Agriculture
In 2017, the IET’s Engineering Policy Group Scotland identified the potential application of the ‘Internet of Things’ in Farming as a strong topic for one of its Holyrood Briefings at the Scottish Parliament. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) invited Agri-EPI Centre, the University of Strathclyde and Harbro to speak and explain how an ‘Internet of Agricultural Things’ could give the Scottish agri-food sector sector a new lease – representing academia, industry and government. The meeting, hosted by Edward Mountain MSP, took place on 27th February 2018.
Innovation in Scottish Agriculture – the Internet of Agricultural Things
At the event, speakers and attendees discussed how new technologies and opportunities such as precision livestock farming, autonomous agricultural machinery and remote crop mapping could help boost the efficiency and overall efficiency of the agri-food sector in Scotland significantly, while also addressing the more global problem of a rising world population and resulting food shortages.
However, several challenges will need to be overcome before these new approaches can be adopted at scale, such as an outdated communications infrastructure and convincing farmers to move away from more traditional methods.
With a global population expected to rise by 2-3 billion people by 2050, farming in Scotland and elsewhere, faces considerable challenges. A new awareness of the environmental concerns around the indiscriminate use of pesticides coupled with the need to promote animal welfare presents engineering with new opportunities. A mix of parliamentarians, industry professionals and academics attended the event.