Posts

Young entrepreneur seeks to ‘freeup’ farmers

Agri-EPI Centre and Overbury Enterprises are working with a young entrepreneur and South Wales farmer’s son who has invented an innovative yet simple dial-reading tool which has the potential to save farmers significant time and money.

Tom McNamara

Tom McNamara demonstrating FreeUP

Tom McNamara’s device, called a ‘FreeUP’, can be mounted onto any kind of equipment or machinery to read and record their analogue dials, instantly making them ‘smart’.

Tom’s FreeUP is currently being tested on three farms including Overbury, which participates in Agri-EPI’s Satellite Farm programme. Tom has established his own company to develop and sell the FreeUP, and he is on the hunt for additional farms willing to take part in trials of the device.

Tom’s simple invention can read the value on any dial, as frequently as needed. Readings are recorded on a webpage and, if they move outside the parameters set by the operator, they will be notified via text message.

The ability to review the data gathered over time supports better informed decision-making. The data can also be exported for use in any other software.

Tom, who is also an academic researcher in farmer-led innovation, explained:

“It is not realistic for most farmers to replace their expensive analogue equipment with digitised versions. The FreeUP offers the solution by making any piece of equipment with a traditional dial ‘smart’. It doesn’t matter what the dial measures, when it was built, what brand it is – the FreeUP will automate it.”

After discussing the device with Agri-EPI Centre, Tom was invited to trial his FreeUP at Overbury Enterprises, where it is mounted on the water irrigation system. The FreeUP is also being trialled at Stackpole Farm in Pembrokeshire for monitoring water pressure in a bore pump and Cheshire’s Reaseheath College where it is being put to various uses in the milking parlour.

Overbury Farm Manager Jake Freestone said:

“Whilst irrigating, we use the FreeUP to monitor water pressure on the irrigation reel which alerts us to significant changes in pressure, allowing us to react quickly to any problems. We are now looking at other applications across the farm and estate.”

Agri-EPI’s Head of Farm Network, Gavin Dick said:

“We are keen to help Tom develop the FreeUP because it fits perfectly with our aim of helping farmers to gather and understand data simply and cost-effectively. It supports good decision making to help improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.”

Tom’s goals are to go on developing his FreeUP by trialling new farm applications, increasing the type of data it can gather and, of course, increasing sales. His overall ambition is to produce a suite of ‘FreeUP’ products in response to needs identified by farmers which automate tasks using simple and affordable equipment that ‘just works’.

Any farms interested in trialling the FreeUP can email Tom at or, for further information, visit www.freeup.world.

FreeUP

Agri-Tech Catalyst funding to support agricultural and food systems innovation in Africa

Competition opens: April 2019

Deadline: June 2019

There is up to £3 million of funding available from the Department for International Development (DFID) for early-stage feasibility studies, mid stage industrial research and late-stage experimental development. Projects must work on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of development and scale of uptake of agricultural and food systems innovation by farmers and food systems actors (such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors or wholesalers) in Africa. All projects must be collaborative and must include at least one partner from the UK and one from an eligible African country. All funding for businesses and research organisations will be sent through the administrative lead organisation.

You can find out more on the competition page, which will be published here in due course.

KTN is hosting a briefing and consortia building event for Round 8 of the Agri-Tech Catalyst on Friday 22nd March in Birmingham and a series of online webinars on Friday 5th April to provide more tailored support to applicants focussing on projects involving crops, livestock and aquaculture, or food systems and nutrition.

  • Friday 22nd March – Free Briefing & Consortia Building Event – Birmingham. Places are limited and a registration of interest system is being used. Register your interest here
  • Friday 5th April 9.30 – 11.00 Crop Webinar. Register here.
  • Friday 5th April 12.00 – 13.30 Livestock and Aquaculture Webinar. Register here.
  • Friday 5th April 14.00 – 15.30 Food Systems and Nutrition Webinar. Register here.

Further information can be found on the KTN website here.  Please contact a member of the KTN Agri-Food team on agrifood@ktn-uk.org if you would like to discuss a potential application or need help finding a project partner.

 

Innovate UK Smart Grants Funding Competition NOW OPEN

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s “Open grant funding” programme.

  • Competition opens: Monday 18 February 2019
  • Competition closes: Wednesday 24 April 2019 12:00pm

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in the best game-changing or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation.

All proposals must be business focused, rather than pure research. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.

Costs and project duration

Project duration between 6 and 18 months: total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000 (single company or collaboration).

Project duration between 19 and 36 months: total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million (collaboration only).

Eligible projects with costs over £2 million (but not exceeding £3 million), may be considered subject to the process set out under ‘Eligibility’.

To apply, and for more details on the competition click here. 

Agribots and the tech revolution on the farm

To share best practices and promote the UK as a leader in precision agriculture innovation, the American Science and Innovation Network (SIN) invited a delegation from the Agri-EPI Centre to visit the US, covering visits…

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria