Posts

UK-China SmartFarm partnership takes next steps

Utilising UK technology in China

Agri-EPI Centre and one of China’s largest food companies, the Tianjin Food Group, have today signed a collaboration agreement to develop a smart farming project utilising UK technology in China to boost early disease detection and productivity monitoring in pigs.

The project, called “SmartFarm 1.5”, will involve Agri-EPI and UK companies RoboScientific, Greengage Lighting and Innovent Technology, working with pork producers for the Tianjin Food Group in north eastern China. It is being funded by Innovate UK from the UK and supported locally by the Tianjin Food Group.

The new project is a continuation of the SmartFarm concept developed in China by Agri-EPI Centre, which seeks to develop international collaboration to support efficient and sustainable approaches to farming and food production.

The first SmartFarm project looked at precision-based approaches to nitrogen application in wheat production. It ran successfully between 2018 and 19, co-sponsored by Innovate UK, led by Agri-EPI and involving UK companies SoilEssentials and RDS, with autonomous and measurement systems contribution from University of Strathclyde. The Chinese partner organisations were NERCITA, the National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technologies China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC).

Following the successful delivery of this inaugural project, Agri-EPI and the Tianjin Food Group agreed to explore further opportunities, resulting in today’s signing of an agreement at the 4th Tianjin World Intelligence Congress.

Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive Dave Ross said:

“We are honoured to be taking China SmartFarm to the next level by working with the Tianjin Food Group to deliver this important project. China is the world’s

largest producer and consumer of pork and technology and to support better productivity and earlier disease detection has significant potential economic benefits. Agri-EPI is excited to be building relationships with a range of international partners, in China – as well as New Zealand and Paraguay – in delivering SmartFarm projects.”

Committee Secretary and Chairman of Tiajin Food Group Zhang Yong said:

“Agri-EPI Centre is an important part of UK Research and Innovation. It has the world’s leading level in precision agriculture, the application of engineering technology in the entire agricultural industry chain, and the application of agricultural robots. With the continuous development of 5G, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and other intelligent technologies, agriculture has entered the era of intelligence. Precision feeding, precise management, real-time disease monitoring, and automatic environmental adjustment are all improving the level of agricultural production. At this critical historical opportunity, we hope to co-operate sincerely with the British side, make full use of their respective advantages, jointly develop and demonstrate the promotion of smart agricultural technology, and contribute to the progress of global agricultural technology.”

Alasdair Hamilton, Head of the Science and Innovation Team at the British Embassy, Beijing said:

“Partnerships in agricultural technologies that support sustainable, environmentally friendly farming is a priority area for science and innovation cooperation between the UK and China. The production of sustainable food with a low carbon footprint is a global necessity. It is therefore a pleasure to see that the MOU between Agri-EPI and the Tianjin Food Company will deepen cooperation in data driven technologies that will improve how we farm and produce nutritious food.”

Ian Cox, Innovate UK’s Agri-Tech Centres Innovation Lead said:

“I am delighted that this SmartFarm 1.5 collaboration agreement has been signed today. It marks the next step for both countries working together under our prestigious Flagship Challenge to address the global challenges facing the agriculture and food sectors. This follows on from SmartFarm 1.0 an initiative that formed a key output of the UK China Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy’s Agri-Tech Flagship Challenge, and which was a direct result of an earlier MoU signed between CRTDC and Innovate UK in November 2016.”

The new SmartFarm 1.5 project builds on a long history of UK-China co-operation in agricultural research and innovation. The relationship was enhanced in 2017 with the signing of the UK-China Science Technology and Innovation Strategy. SmartFarm is a core part of one of the strategy’s major deliverables, the Agri-Tech Flagship Challenge.

Food security and increasing farmers’ income remain a primary importance in China’s agriculture and rural policies. Technology plays a key role in the government’s plan to achieve this, with more investment being directed at deploying large agri-tech research programmes and innovation systems.

China’s approach to agricultural innovation overlaps many of the UK’s priorities including those set out in the Industrial Strategy.

On June 30, join Agri-EPI Centre, in partnership with 8 Hours Ahead, for a webinar exploring agri-tech opportunities in China. For more and to register, visit: www.agri-epicentre.com/land-and-grow-the-agri-tech-china-opportunity.

For further information, please contact Jane Smernicki, Agri-EPI Centre Communications Manager on 0131 239 7030, 07985 691 765 or jane.smernicki@agri-epcentre.com.

Kiwi alliance speeds innovation development

Global collaboration plays a vital role in developing solutions for our farming industries – so in September we were delighted to receive 20+ visitors from New Zealand on an innovation-led agri-tech mission. The visit followed our own expert mission to New Zealand in March this year: our nations have many farming similarities, so agri-tech innovators are uniquely placed to share challenges and opportunities.

Farmers across the UK and Ireland already use technology from New Zealand companies like LIC, Gallagher, Waikato and Tru-Test, and there is plenty that our own innovators can do to help farmers across the globe. The challenges are the same whether you farm in New Zealand or the UK: achieving greater productivity and efficiencies, labour availability, environmental pressures and changing consumer preferences. Smart technological solutions can help answer those challenges.

With the help of the Department of International Trade, Innovate UK, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, the Callaghan Innovation-led mission visited the Irish National Ploughing Championships and UK Dairy Day, as well as our Agri-EPI hub in the Midlands and the South West Dairy Centre in Somerset.

Les Hurdiss, Operations Manager at the Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, explains:

“Agriculture is New Zealand’s number one industry, so their government really promotes innovation. But the domestic market is small, so they need to expand globally.”

By creating ‘landing pads’ in the UK, employing British staff, receiving British investment and developing new innovations for the British market, everyone stands to benefit.

In addition, having a straightforward entry to the New Zealand market helps our own investors and innovators, while having a presence on opposite sides of the world speeds up technological advances due to the ability to squeeze two seasons of testing into one 12-month period.

Having returned to New Zealand, Peter Wren-Hilton, Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand, has already drafted actions and initiatives to submit to Government ministers. Times are moving rapidly ahead: watch this space.

Logo KTNMission report

Earlier this year, Agri-EPI Centre took part in Agri-Tech Expert Missions to Australia and New Zealand respectively. KTN has delivered two separate publications that summarise the opportunities for UK organisations in both areas and insights gathered during the delegation’s time. Don’t miss out on these insightful documents and download them here.

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions, led by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network, play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future programmes.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

What are Innovate UK Smart Grants?

Smart Grants fund disruptive innovation which is pre-commercialisation but late stage and near to market.

Funding opportunities

> Opens: 17 October 2019

> Closes: 8 January 2020

What is available? 

£25,000 – £500,000 for 6 – 18 month projects

£25,000 – £2 million for 19 -36 month projects

What projects will be considered?

Projects can include feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development. 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.

Please Rebecca Lewis by email at Rebecca.lewis@agri-epicentre.com if you interested in finding out more, or if you have a project or idea that you are seeking funding or other support for, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help to enable your innovation.

For more information and to apply please go to: ktn-uk.co.uk.

KTN SPARK Awards

What are the KTN SPARK Awards?

Funding is provided to establish new collaborations and long-standing relationships between research partners – for example universities – and Small to Medium-sized (SME) businesses in the UK.

Funding opportunities

> Closing date: 1 November 2019

What is available?

£10,000 will be awarded to the research partner that will be working with the SME

What projects will be considered?

  • Livestock and aquaculture
  • Food and drink
  • Industry biotechnology
  • Plants and crops

Agri-EPI Centre can help you

Please contact Agri-EPI Centre’s New Business & Proposals Team if you would like to:

  • Use our satellite farm network to develop, test and trial
  • Access our research assets and facilities
  • Utilise our data
  • Use our people and expertise

For more information about this funding opportunity, and to apply, visit: ktn-uk.co.uk.

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.”

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?

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:

Paraguay mission for UK agri-tech

The exciting opportunities for trade with Latin American markets were the focus of a recent successful trade mission to Paraguay involving several UK agri-tech companies.

The mission was led by Agri-EPI Centre, working in close partnership with the Department for International Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It featured the Ministerial launch of the Agri-EPI-led Paraguay Satellite Demonstration Farm at the Paraguay Expo 2019, a major event showcasing the country’s farming, industrial and services sectors.

Partners Paraguay AgriTech Mission

Partnership banner Paraguay AgriTech Mission July 2019Agri-EPI Centre has been leading the Innovate UK- supported Satellite Demonstration Farm project in Paraguay since January 2018. It has involved partnering with a farming business to demonstrate UK agri-tech in the agricultural economy of Paraguay.

The farming business, GVasa in San Pedro, spans 85,000 hectares and incorporates cattle, maize, soybean and rice production enterprises.  The initial focus of the Smart Farm project has been on improving finishing cattle efficiency through remote live weight monitoring and improved nutrition. The ability to capture real time live weight data empowers dynamic decision making combined with improved nutrition, leading to better feed conversion efficiency.

The economic outcome of introducing UK technology means more profitable farming systems, reduced environmental footprint and improved economic sustainability.

There have so far been two UK commercial partners involved in trials on the farm. Ritchie Agricultural has provided in field weigh crates for cattle, while Harbro has been trialling its Maxammon feed supplement.

Next steps for the Smart Farm project are to continue with the current trials and to assess the priorities for additional activities. Two areas currently being considered are technology for tracking cattle across the huge swathes of land on typical Paraguay cattle ranches, and gathering harvest data.

Joining the trade mission were Hummingbird Technologies, Brinicombe Agri and AGCOM. With Agri-EPI and DIT representatives, the delegates visited the Smart Farm in San Pedro, attended a reception hosted by the UK Ambassador to Paraguay Matthew Hedges; took part in the Smart Farm launch with the participation of Paraguay Agriculture Minister Juan Carlos Denis Lichi, Vice Minister of Agriculture Nicasio Romero and Vice Minister of Livestock Marcelo Gonzáles.

The delegation also had an opportunity for B2B networking with some of the many Latin American businesses attending the Expo, and gave positive feedback about the potential opportunities arising from the trip.

Dr Elizabeth Warham, DIT’s Agri-Tech Lead said:

There is often a reluctance from the end-user – farmer or agri-business distributor – to purchase technology that has not been validated and tested by farmers in the target market, making it difficult for companies to sell technology at a trade event to enter a new export market. A showcase demo smart farm provides a platform for companies to collect data, support claims and illustrate product effectiveness in-country. Where these smart farms are connected to the UK Agri-Tech Innovation Centres – in this case Agri-EPI – academic and research organisations can also be engaged to further develop technologies, so they are appropriate to the local context.

Dave Ross, Chief Executive of Agri-EPI said:

There are tremendous opportunities for trade in Paraguay, where there is openness to the UK and great interest in our agri-tech know-how. It is worth highlighting the benefits of the local Maquila regime that affords benefits for UK companies who become active in Paraguay, and then qualify for tariff-efficient access to whole of Mercosur, the Southern Common Market. We thank the companies who took part in the mission and look forward to continuing our exciting collaboration with UK and Paraguay partners.

Ian Cox, Agri-Tech Centres Innovation Lead of Innovate UK, added:

Innovate UK is particularly happy to have supported this Smart Farm in Paraguay. I am heartened by the progress made in demonstrating how UK technology can help to reduce the environmental footprint of farming in Paraguay whilst at the same time improving productivity and profitability. I hope this can lead to further joint collaborations with Paraguay companies to develop further the technologies needed to help solve some of the fundamental problems the planet faces to feed a growing global population.

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria