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Agri-EPI at New Scientist Live

Together with Farmers Weekly, Agri-EPI Centre joined Agrimetrics, CIEL, CHAP and its partners GEA Group and RHIZA for the New Scientist Live festival in London today (10 October). The event, which is in its fourth year, has been recognised as Europe’s top science festival, and is expected to welcome a crowd of over 40,000 visitors in its four day run, 10 – 13 October.

Visitors to stall 611 at the Ag Pavilion, where the four Centres and partners are based, have the opportunity to witness first-hand the positive impact that technology has on the farming industry, and on the planet as a whole, as Tom Westerman, RHIZA Digital Manager, explains:

“Agriculture is a forward thinking technical industry and has got a huge role to play in the future of our planet, ensuring food security and sustainability.”

Demonstrations at New Scientist Live

During New Scientist Live, RHIZA is helping farmers tackle this face on with its Contour desktop and mobile app, which helps farmers identify their areas of better or worse crop and is on display at today’s festival, as are GEA Group, who have brought along their DairyRobot R9500.

The robot has been designed to automatically take care of premium quality milk and free up resources to make the farmer’s daily planning and routine more flexible and effective.

David Simmons, Head of Milking & Dairy Farming Sales at GEA Group, said of the event:

“We couldn’t agree more that technology is transforming the world of farming. It’s our absolute pleasure to show students and youngsters how fast-paced and high-tech the farming industry really is.”

Considering a career in agri-tech? Visit New Scientist Live!

It’s been anticipated that by 2025, the agricultural technology sector will be worth more than £136 billion globally. The UK Government is keen to contribute to this number, and in recent years, has invested in four agri-tech centres to lead in its efforts. The four Centres, Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP and CIEL, work collaboratively to harness leading UK research and expertise as well as build new infrastructure and innovation.

The Centres also work with leading partners to drive growth and offer support for innovative ideas and projects that help farmers and business owners become more profitable and sustainable. Naomi Smitten, Projects Co-ordinator for Agri-EPI explains:

“The projects are made up of experts from all industries focused on, but not limited to, Agriculture. Most of the companies that are involved in our projects are already operating organisations and/or universities. They don’t necessarily have the time or skill set to align a project.”

To date, the Centres have worked on a number of game-changing projects, such as Hands Free Farm with Harper Adams University and Precision Soil Mapping with partners Cranfield University, AgSpace, Innovate UK and The James Hutton Institute.

Event photo impression:

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Agri-EPI supports ground-breaking project Hands Free Farm

Agri-EPI Centre is project managing the innovative Hands Free Farm project at Harper Adams University. Hands Free Farm is the follow-on to the famous Hands Free Hectare project started in 2016 by Harpers Adams and Precision Decisions with the aim to be the first in the world to grow, tend and harvest a crop without operators in the driving seats or agronomists on the ground. The automation farm project has been taken through two successful cropping cycles and won a number of awards, including the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Future Food Award.

Now, thanks to funding from Innovate UK, the project has evolved into Hands Free Farm, a three-year-long project, run by Harper Adams and Precision Decisions and the UK division of Australian precision agriculture specialist Farmscan AG.

The project has just got underway and is based at Harper Adams’ campus in Shropshire. Agri-EPI Centre is providing the team with project management support and development space at its Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, located on the university’s campus.

Les Hurdiss, Manager of Agri-EPI’s Midlands Hub, said: “Hands Free Farm is a fantastic, ground breaking project which is truly innovative in taking farming into a new era. We are very proud that the project will be developed in our Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub. Robotics and automation are at the forefront of the current transformation of agriculture and Hands Free Farm is one of several projects in which Agri-EPI is involved which are advancing this exciting area.”

Jonathan Gill, Harper Adams Mechatronics Researcher said: “This time, we’re planning to grow three different combinable crops across 35 hectares.

“We’re moving past the feasibility study which the hectare provided us with, to now a vision of the future of farming.

“We want to prove the capability and ability of these systems in reducing the levels of soil compaction and precision application.”

Kit Franklin, Harper Adams Senior Agricultural Engineering Lecturer, said: “We want the farm to become a testbed for agricultural innovation. Once the farm’s established, we’ll be encouraging companies to come and test and evaluate their technologies.”

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Agri-EPI Centre launches Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

A multi-million-pound hub for the development, testing and sharing of technologies to boost productivity in farming and the food supply chain has opened in the Midlands following Innovate UK investment. Agri-EPI Centre has developed the £4.4 million research & development agri-tech facility in close partnership with Harper Adams University.

Located on the University’s campus in Shropshire, the hub will bring together researchers, technology and engineering companies and food businesses, from farmers right through to retailers.

A priority for the new hub is to encourage farmer uptake of innovative technologies to increase the overall benefits to UK agriculture.  Experts will explore how robotics, lasers, sensors and satellite technology may benefit farmers, such as robots which can pick soft fruit or lasers which can target individual weeds in a field without pesticides or damage to the crop.  Such technologies are being researched by Harper Adams and others in conjunction with industry partners, to be tested further through the Agri-EPI Centre network.

The hub was officially opened today by Sam Gyimah MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, who said:

“From picking soft fruits using robots, to treating crops using lasers and avoiding harmful pesticides, the innovations being considered by Agri-EPI Centre will revolutionise farming as we know it and make it more profitable than ever before.

Our agricultural sector is the biggest industrial sector in the UK and our farmers are multi-skilled – they are investor, environmentalists and scientists. We need to make sure these skills keep pace with the growth of new technologies which is why we have invested £90 million through our modern Industrial Strategy to put the UK at the forefront of these innovations and boost productivity.”

Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive Dave Ross said:

“The Midlands hub is one of four ground-breaking facilities we will be running across the UK to really push forward new thinking and technologies that can boost the productivity, sustainability and profitability of the agri-food industry.”

Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, said:

“There are considerable opportunities to grow the agri-technology sector through the work of the Agri-EPI Centre and the facilities being formally opened today.  The Government has recognised the importance of this new sector by designating nearby Telford as a High Potential Opportunity area for inward investment in agri-technologies, and our Local Authority and the Marches LEP have identified agri-tech as a strategic priority, based on our activities and those of the Agri-EPI network.”

Ian Cox, Innovate UK Innovation Lead for the Agri-Tech Centres said:

“Ultimately, this is about the successful transfer of new technologies, and the skills for their use, into farming practice to improve productivity, profitability and environmental performance in food production.  Working with the Agri-EPI Centre team we are committed to achieving these objectives.”

In addition, the state-of-the-art Midlands Dairy Research Centre, developed by Agri-EPI in partnership with managed by Harper Adams, will focus on the use of next generation dairy technology to understand dairy cow behaviour and welfare. Its 50-cow robotic milking shed was designed specifically for trial work, complementing Harper Adams’ 380-strong commercial dairy herd. The Centre is sponsored by DeLaval, Easyfix and IceRobotics

 

Partners Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

Partners Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

TAFE first business to take up residence in workshop space Newport

Harper Adams University (HAU) has entered a new international collaboration with India-based Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) to develop advanced technological, agronomic and educational solutions for the delivery of sustainable food production around the world.

TAFE, the world’s third largest tractor manufacturing company in terms of volume, has become the first business to take up residence in the Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, on the university campus, to commence a major, collaborative research and development project.

Agri-EPI Centre is one of the four national Centres for Agricultural Innovation created as part of the £17.7m UK government investment from the UK’s Strategy for Agricultural Technologies to help provide engineering and precision agriculture solutions for the agri-food industry.

The collaboration between TAFE, Harper Adams University and Agri-EPI Centre will include joint research projects and programmes, joint publications and staff exchanges.

Research will be focused on agriculture, engineering and technology development programmes on autonomous farming and energy efficient implements, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and sensor technologies along with the Hands Free Hectare (HFH) project that will be implemented at JFarm India; TAFE’s adaptive agriculture research centre.

Partnership logo TAFE at Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

TAFE President & COO, Mr T R Kesavan said:

“TAFE’s collaboration with Agri-EPI Centre and Harper Adams is a reaffirmation of TAFE’s commitment to its vision of ‘Cultivating the World’ as it aims to combine integrated farming techniques with precision agriculture and engineering to develop sustainable farming models that work for both marginal and large farms. This collaboration will provide opportunities for developing a range of advanced training skills, learning and the promotion of international technology transfer and exchange.”

On the team’s arrival, Harper Adams Agricultural Engineering Lecturer Kit Franklin said: “We at Harper Adams have been building contacts with TAFE for the last 18 months. “It’s great to now have this young and enthusiastic team of engineers from TAFE’s Centre of Excellence here in the UK, where we’re about to start on our first collaborative engineering project. “Along with the completion of the project, I hope the team will get a flavour of British agriculture, helping them to return with fresh new ideas.”

Welcoming them to the Agri-EPI Centre, Lee Williams, Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub Manager, said:

“We’re extremely excited about the first major R&D project coming into the centre but even more so as it’s a large international tractor manufacturer that’s working in collaboration with Harper Adams.”

Source: Harper Adams University

Successful UK Agri-Tech Centres Capability Showcase

Born out of the UK Agri-tech Strategy in 2013, the 4 UK’s Agri-Tech Innovation Centres came together on March 21st at the Agri-EPI Centre Newport Hub in Shropshire to meet with 140 key decision makers from industry, trade associations and policy makers. The objective was to show the progress that is made in the last two years and inform industry how to engage with the Centres to address their business needs and how the centres can be of service. The Newport Hub located at Harper Adams University is one of three such facilities being developed by Agri-EPI Centre around the UK, and despite having only just opened has tenants waiting to move in.

UK Agri-Tech Centres of Agricultural Innovation

Four Agri-Tech Centres: One Vision

The launch of www.agritechcentres.com was announced at the start of the event. The collective website, initiated by the four Agricultural Innovation Technology Centres Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP Solutions and CIEL Livestock, is to set out the ‘Four Centres One Vision’ collaboration between the Agri-Tech Centres as one, unified message.

Programme

The day included different elements, such as series of interactive short talks, video displays, discussions and field demonstrations. Guests were divided in different tour groups, which was part of the registration process, each in their own field of industry to ensure and maximise relevance. The demonstrations were widespread: the latest dairy technologies; LED lighting that increases crop productivity; thermal imaging for farms; big data support. Overall, the event allowed both Tech Centres as well as the key decision makers in the wide AgriTech industry to enhance the network that will have a positive influence on new collaborations and business opportunities.

Event photo impression

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Agri-Tech partners winners of Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Agri-EPI Centre works very closely with leading UK academic institutions Cranfield University, Harper Adams University and Scotland’s Rural College. We are happy to announce that all three partners visited Buckingham Palace recently to receive Queen’s Anniversary Prize from HRH The Prince of Wales, with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

Twelfth Round Prize-Winners 2016-18

  • Cranfield University received praise for their work on soil science: large-scale soil and environmental data for sustainable use of the natural resources in the UK and worldwide;
  • Harper Adams University received praise for their work on agricultural engineering: innovative applications in agricultural engineering and technologies to address UK and global food security;
  • Scotland’s Rural College received praise for their work on dairy management: large-scale breeding research for dairy cattle producing improved milk yield and environmental benefits.
  • We congratulate all three partners for winning awards in their line of work.

Agri-EPI partners and prize winners

 
Cranfield University
Harper Adams University logo
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are a biennially awarded series of prizes awarded to Universities and Colleges in the further and higher education sectors within the United Kingdom. Uniquely it forms part of the British honours system.

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

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