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Agri-EPI appoints Dr Trisha Toop as Chief Technical Officer

Agri-EPI is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Trisha Toop as its new Chief Technical Officer. 

Trisha, who joins Agri-EPI from Harper Adams University, is an expert in sustainable systems development with a passion in transforming agricultural systems through the use of novel targeted smart technology. 

Taking up post on 1 October, Trisha will provide leadership, drive innovation, and steer Agri-EPI’s technical growth. She will work with project partners, governments, industry and the international agri-tech community to drive help Agri-EPI’s technological vision and strategy. 

Trisha started out in the automotive engineering sector, before completing a degree in genetics and biochemistry. After winning a national competition which funded an interdisciplinary PhD in engineering and biochemistry, the focus of her work has been on the development of novel sustainable products and processes in the agri-food and agri-tech sectors. Trisha has worked with companies of all sizes across these sectors assisting them with innovation and facilitating cutting edge research with a global impact. She has worked as a research scientist, sustainability and techno-economic analysis expert and innovation manager for a number of companies. 

Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive, Dave Ross, said: “We are very much looking forward welcoming Trisha to Agri-EPI. Trisha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which we know will help to shape and deliver our priorities during this pivotal time for us, and for the agri-food industry.” 

Trisha said: “I am really excited to be taking up my new position with Agri-EPI. This is a time where agriculture faces the greatest change since the first agricultural revolution and the development of technology is key. To be able to work with centre members to develop and implement the game changing technology needed is a great opportunity.” 

Trish succeeds Dr Shamal Mohammed who has taken up a new position as Agri-Tech Director with Silal, an organisation supporting food security in the United Arab Emirates. 

Producing more sustainably: How can tech support farms to reach their goals?

 

The role of agri-tech in the journey towards more economically and environmentally sustainable farming is the focus of Agri-EPI annual conference on 28 October.

The free, online event will bring together farmers and the wider agri-food industry, technology developers and start-ups, investors, and researchers in a series of round-table discussions about the role of data and technology in improving productivity and profit while protecting and enhancing the environment. Farmers involved in Agri-EPI’s Satellite Farm Network will join the conversation.

Lisa Williams, Agri-EPI’s Director of Business Development said: “Drawing on our links with every part of the agri-tech landscape, Agri-EPI’s aim is to bring together a diverse group of participants to add their perspectives and expertise on what’s required to deliver effective new technology that really makes a difference to farmers as they focus on sustaining their businesses during this time of transition for the industry.”

The winners of Agri-EPI’s Agri-tech Excellence Award will also be announced at the event. Supported by Marks & Spencer, Syngenta, Leyton, Barclays and Kubota, the Awards recognise companies that have had a beneficial impact on-farm.

The shortlisted companies are:

Category 1: UK on-farm impact

Flox AI

Flox use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve bird welfare + flock performance

Oxi-tech Solutions

 Oxi-Tech Solutions has commercialised a novel Patented technology that creates the most powerful industrial disinfectant Currently in use today dissolved ozone created entirely from the water on-farm and low voltage electricity.

Taylor Technologies

Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence based technology system that enables a conventional crop sprayer to become a precise, intelligent and futuristic weed-targeting spot-sprayer.

Bx Technologies

Bx is an ambitious Climate-AgriTech company, fusing technology with nature to transform how we grow food.

Pruex Ltd

Pruex have an innovative approach, using non-infective bacteria, similar to soil bacteria, to outcompete disease causing bacteria, and provide livestock with healthier environments to live in.

B-Hive Innovations

B-hive Innovations is a dedicated research and development company for the fresh produce industry technologies include HarvestEye & TuberScan.

Category 2: International on-farm impact

ALVÁTECH

ALVÁTECH is a revolutionary Eco-friendly water technology for agriculture and livestock, allowing farmers to use saline and hard water to grow more, increase profits and reduce water consumption.Kisan Hub

The KisanHub Platform is a suite of software delivering real-time agri-food supply chain and procurement information to help Producer Groups manage supply and demand.

Onachil Food Store

Onachil makes, sells/ rents solar powered cold chain technologies to farmers which they use to safely preserve their produce after harvest as we link them directly to buyers using our E-Commerce AI conversational chatbot.

Farm ERP

FarmERP is an intelligent and next-generation farm management platform, developed to ready a wide range of entities and stakeholders for the future.

Wicow

 wiCow is a smart, state of art, early warning, and health tracking technology for cattle and buffalos.

Tavant

 Our solutions, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, help improve operational efficiency, productivity, speed and accuracy in the interconnected world to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment.

 

Held on the virtual conference Hopin, the conference will also provide a useful networking opportunity.

To find out more and register to join the event visit: Agri-EPI Centre’s Annual Conference | The path to sustainable Farming (hopin.com)

Securing UK farms: Tackling rural crime with NextGenAgri

In the wake of the NFU Mutual report on rural crime, Agri-EPI Centre network member NextGenAgri and partners at O.R.P. CCTV and R-Com IoT have teamed up to develop an innovative new solution to help combat what is an irrefutable blight on the agricultural industry.

With an estimated total cost of £43.4m in 2020 – and with rates rising considerably on certain assets and in certain regions – theft is a real cause for concern. But other crimes such as dog attacks on livestock and fly tipping also cost the agrifood sector both time and money every year.

Jim McClean, NFU Mutual Chairman says: “As a farmer myself, I know from personal experience that rural crime […] is far more than an inconvenience. It’s a major disruption that can have a real impact on a farmer’s work life, family life and mental wellbeing. The anxiety experienced by farming families […] is impossible to calculate.”

Solutions to the biggest agrifood challenges

Agri-EPI Centre works alongside farmers, developers and stakeholders to help solve challenges facing agriculture and safety on farm, including the safety of premises and technology, has been at the forefront of our most recent work – including our upcoming Hackathon.

That means working with Agri-EPI Centre network members, such as NextGenAgri to continually test, adapt and develop systems that can keep agricultural assets safe and secure. From plant, asset and vehicle tracking to CCTV systems and intruder alerts, Agri-EPI Centre has been essential to facilitating NextGenAgri’s innovations in agritech.

NextGenAgri uses agri-tech to enable farms to accelerate the adoption of technology to accelerate business growth, providing a range of solutions that couple innovation with the critical challenges of the UK agricultural community, including farm yields, asset security and worker safety.

The Active AI Enhanced CCTV camera developed by NextGenAgri is at the cutting edge of farm site security, extending the capability of existing cameras to deliver proactive alerts, 24-7.

Utilising AI, this system can detect unexpected, out-of-hours movement and can distinguish between different vehicles (from scooters to large plant), people and even suspicious behaviour. Should the system identify something out of the ordinary, the alarm is raised allowing the stakeholder to check and respond accordingly.

Evolving to meet future threats

Gill Nunn, CEO and Founder of NextGenAgri Limited says: “The solutions we have developed with our partners enable us to deliver a highly capable response to criminal behaviour and activity. They also provide a platform for our evolution to meet future threats.”

Duncan Kirby, R-Com IoT says: “The solutions we have developed with our partners provide end-to-end, integrated, and modular solutions that give land owners and farmers alike a proactive, highly accurate, efficient and effective response to criminal activity.”

Referring to Active AI Enhanced CCTV, Chris Marlow, CEO of O.R.P. Surveillance says: “Agricultural settings can be one of the most challenging environments to secure. The flexibility this system offers is a game changer in its adaptability to different environments and its ability to respond to various threats. Smart, automated, pro-active systems are the future of rural security. We are proud and excited to be a part of that.”

Working alongside farmers, tech developers and a wide range of other companies in the agricultural sector is just one of the many ways we facilitate and enable innovation on farms in the UK and internationally. You can find out more about Agri-EPI Centre’s work on our project pages.

Research to use artificial intelligence to identify sick livestock

The welfare of livestock could be improved thanks to a new research project that will use novel artificial intelligence methods combined with behavioural analytics to provide rapid and reliable insights to animal health for farmers across the UK. The research and commercial feasibility program, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, will be led by the Quant Foundry (QF) in collaboration with the University of Bristol Vet School and Agri-EPI Centre.

The team headed by Dr Chris Cormack at QF will run a feasibility study with Professor Andrew Dowsey and animal welfare experts, Dr Siobhan Mullan, Dr Suzanne Held and Professor Michael Mendl at the University of Bristol and Agri-EPI Centre at their South West Dairy Development Centre in Somerset.

The project aims to provide a new cost-effective solution for farmers and vets to identify illness in livestock providing not only cost savings but also a means to reduce the impact of farming on the environment.

Dr Chris Cormack, Managing Director at the Quant Foundry (www.quantfoundry.com), said: “In conjunction with our research partners, Bristol Veterinary School and Agri-EPI, the study of behavioural analytics in animals will open up a new era in artificial intelligence driven solutions for farmers. We have great hopes that not only can we help farmers provide improved care for their livestock but also help reduce their economic costs and their environmental impact.”

Professor Andrew Dowsey, Chair in Population Health Data Science at Bristol Veterinary School and a specialist in data solutions for health and agriculture, added:

“This collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to translate cutting-edge artificial intelligence approaches to build upon the UK’s high standards in cattle welfare and support farmers in our targets for net-zero emissions.”

Duncan Forbes, Agri-EPI centre’s Head of Dairy said:

“Agri-EPI’s South West Dairy Development Centre is dedicated to the development and evaluation of exciting emerging technologies such as this and we’re looking forward to working with Quant Foundry and Bristol Vet School.”

Throughout the project the collaborative team will be actively seeking partners to help them commercialise and build capability as the project matures, this can range from direct investment or from interested companies looking to complement their existing activities in this upcoming area.

New film highlights technology for sustainable dairy production

Dairy Production technology

Agri-EPI’s South West Dairy Development Centre (SWDDC) in Somerset and one of its satellite farm, Parkend Farm in Fife, are featured in a new film highlighting the development of technology in sustainable dairy production.

The video was produced as part of the Horizon 2020 ‘Internet of Food & Farm’ project. It explores the work of the project’s Dairy Trial Team at Strathclyde University, led by Professors Ivan Andonovic and Craig Michie.

The team is looking at sensors and Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for helping farmers increase their herds’ milk yields, based around a new platform called Herdsman+.

Lots of data about a cow’s health, fertility and performance can be collected using tools such as internet-connect collars, leg tags and milking robots. The key to generating the most accurate picture of each cow in the herd is to be able to integrate this data. Herdsman+ does exactly that, analysing the information to allow the farmer to make well-informed management decisions for optimising each animal’s health, welfare and milk yield.

Sustainable dairy

Agri-EPI has supported the Dairy Trial Team by providing data from the SWDDC and Park End dairy farm. The two dairies have also hosted events for farmers to consult them about new and future tools which may support their businesses’ sustainability during these challenging times for the dairy sector.

 


Logo Science Animated

Science Animated

This video has created by Science Animated is a scientific communication agency who develop engaging and accessible animations based on specific researcher’s work. For more information: https://sciani.com

 

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