Agri-Tech Centres of Agricultural Innovation

UK Agri-Tech Centres showcase contribution to transforming food production

partnership banner Four Centres Innovate UK

– Press release –

The role of the UK’s four Agri-Tech Centres in achieving sustainable global food production will be highlighted at two on-farm events next week.

The events, on March 26 and 28 at Newcastle University’s Cockle Park Farm, will showcase collaborative research and development projects involving 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). The Centres were established in 2015 through collaboration involving government, academia and industry and are supported by Innovate UK.

Whilst four distinct organisations, the Centre’s work in partnership and share a common objective – to drive greater efficiency, resilience and wealth across the agri-food sector.

Event delegates from industry and policy will see and hear about the latest advancements in technologies and capabilities from the Centres and their research partners.

Together with Innovate UK, the Centres have lined up a series of practical demonstrations and talks highlighting the progress that is being made, all of which support the UK’s Industrial Strategy of ‘Transforming Food Production’.

The first event will focus on plants and crops, while the second will focus on livestock. The aim is to stimulate further opportunities for collaboration supported by the Centres’ capabilities and networks.

At both events, Agrimetrics will be showcasing how a global food business, a major agrochemical manufacturer and a new start-up using its data and data capabilities to support their businesses. Find out how Agrimetrics is working with Microsoft and Airbus to create a resource that can address the sector’s biggest challenges.

Additional opportunities at the arable event include:

  • A chance to meet the start-up company which has won a million pound grant as part of a CHAP consortium to build an integrated technology system focussed on reducing costs and improving crop yields whilst reducing grower intervention through improved decision support and automation in lighting, nutrient and environmental controls technologies in the vertical farming sector. Work on the Future Farming Hub at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee is to start very soon. During the course of the day you can talk to scientists and experts to find out how they did it and what opportunities there could be for you to be part of a similar consortium using CHAP capabilities and networks.
  • A field demonstration of agricultural robots and drones, including Agri-Rover, an autonomous robot developed by Agri-EPI partner Strathclyde University that can conduct chemical soil tests in a timely and cost-effective way.

The livestock event will include:

  • 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.
  • Innovations led by CIEL that will drive future precision livestock systems to manage health & welfare, use resources efficiently and provide high quality food for consumers, including: a first-of-its-kind mobile food quality sensory lab; mobile CT scanning and DXA imaging facilities for assessing body condition and carcass traits in live animals and meat; digital image & audio smart tools for monitoring animal health & welfare; and the new national pasture growth monitoring farm network –

Ian Cox, Innovate UK’s Innovation Lead, Agritech 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 will 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.