Innovation Archives - Agri-EPI Centre

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Tag Archive for: Innovation

Data-capture and use focus of innovation farm walk

Data-capture and use is the focus of a farm walk at one of Agri-EPI Centre’s technology and innovation trial farms.

The event will take place at Upper Nisbet Farm, Jedburgh, by kind permission of farmers Robert and Jac Neill, on Tuesday 11 October.

Participants will be able to hear about the Neills’ experience of implementing new technology on the farm in conjunction with Agri-EPI Centre, including Crover, the grain-monitoring robot, which burrows into stored grain to check moisture levels and temperature. The Neills also utilise machinery and equipment from Agri-EPI Centre members John Deere, Keenan and Trutest who will talk about their technology.

Robert Neill said:

“The farming industry needs new technology and there are some things that are already delivering really good results at Upper Nisbet. My experience with GPS has been unbelievably good; I can drill crops with much greater precision, meaning I don’t sow in inefficiency at the start of the season. If I know that the combine is exactly where it is meant to be, I can concentrate on other settings, such as keeping the header full. It also means I’m much less exhausted at the end of the day.”

Ross Robertson, head of mixed farming at Agri-EPI Centre said:

“The farming industry needs new technology to become more efficient. Some things have potential and some don’t, but this doesn’t always become clear until they are trialled on working farms.

“Agri-EPI Centre works with arable and livestock farms the length and breadth of the UK, enabling us to undertake and research new technology, commercial trials and data analysis in as many different situations as possible. I am really looking forward to hearing how Robert and Jac are getting on with the technology at Upper Nisbet and to learning about what works and where they see opportunities for development.”

Multi-sensor VTOL UAV

Agri-tech has undergone tremendous improvements with the introduction of remote sensing technologies, making many agricultural properties that were difficult to achieve before now accessible.

Multi-Spectral imaging has been widely used on satellites (e.g. Landsat) for earth observation science at a global scale. In the agricultural domain, UAVs as a platform have played a major role utilising various payload sensors including multi-spectral imaging.

The advantage of multi-spectral imaging is that it extends human sight sensitivity beyond the visible spectrum. Some wavelengths that are widely recognised for applications, such as the normalised difference vegetative index (NDVI), can be deployed into multi-spectral imaging. Nonetheless, it has been proved to be very useful in many other fields, greatly empowering the advancement of agriculture. The adoption of UAVs has made it possible to achieve large-scale mapping and thus better agricultural management.

Agri-EPI Centre has invested in the Multi-spectral VTOL UAV which has a potential use as ground truth technology for other technologies and/or systems.

This UAV and sensing payload system can also be used for a variety of fruit orchard use-cases which include:
• Estimation of leaf area index
• Estimation of canopy volume
• Estimation of water stress
• Fruit biomass estimation
• Temperature variation across the orchard
• Temperature variation of specific plants over time
• Fruit count estimation

It can also be used in other agricultural areas which include:
• Pest infestation detection
• Quantity moisture levels
• Analyse wildlife damage
• Vegetation index creation like NDVI
• Crop counting
• Create 3D photogrammetry maps

For information on renting out our technical assets please contact team@agri-epicentre.com.

Agri-EPI hosts agri-tech focused tour for New Zealand delegation

This month Agri-EPI hosted a visit from Callaghan Innovation and Agritech New Zealand.

Beginning with a visit to one of their satellite farms, Kaiapoi Farm, farmer Robert Hodgkins showcased his new sheep dairy and discussed the realities of farming in the UK and opportunities for deployment of agri-tech.

Agri-EPI works with an extensive network of real commercial farms and research facilities in the UK and internationally, offering a platform through which innovators can verify the effectiveness of their new idea or technology in practice.Their farm network is key to connecting farmers with technology developers, advancing the adoption of agri-tech and enhancing the sustainability of farm businesses.

The next leg of the visit involved a tour of Agri-EPI’s new Agri-informatics building at Cranfield University and the shared Agri-EPI Centre and Crop Health & Protection – CHAP phenotyping glasshouse facility, a superb asset for companies to use for R&D and trials. They were joined there by representatives from the university, CHAP, and Innovate UK.

With a stopover to UK Dairy Day, they watched Agri-EPI members at MilktechNZ showcase their award winning CR-1 electronic cup removers, followed by a visit to Harper Adams University where Hands Free Farm demonstrated their autonomous combine harvester in action.

The final stop was Agri-EPI’s Midlands Agri-tech Innovation Hub where networking and discussions around UK funding and the potential for future collaboration took place.

Jane Lycett, International Business Development Manager at Agri-EPI, who coordinated the visit, said:

“It was great to host an inward mission of innovative agri-tech companies, led by Callaghan Innovation and Agritech New Zealand. The visit provided an opportunity to showcase a number of Agri EPI Centre’s facilities and expertise and discuss areas for future collaboration between UK and New Zealand.”

Specialising in connecting knowledgeable experts and new solutions across the agricultural sectors, Agri-EPI aims to help deliver profitable and sustainable cutting-edge technologies to market.

 

   

AIA launches advisory service to bridge gap between investors and innovative agri-food start-ups

Tuesday 20 September, 2022

Agri-EPI Centre has launched Agritech Investment Advisory Ltd (“AIA”), a new advisory service to bridge the gap between investors and innovative agri-food start-ups.

AIA combines deep expertise in capital raising transactions with the sector expertise, asset base and network of its parent, Agri-EPI Centre.

AIA aims to serve both start-ups seeking funding and investors looking for attractive opportunities in the sector. For start-ups, AIA offers capital raising and strategic advice, and focuses on early stage (predominantly Seed & Series A) agri-food businesses based in the UK, or with significant UK presence. For investors, AIA offers both deal sourcing and due diligence support, and seeks to support a combination of venture capital firms, family offices and high net worth individuals.

John Grealish, Head of Advisory at AIA, said:

“It’s widely acknowledged that global food production systems need to change fundamentally if they’re to feed a growing population whilst also supporting efforts to avert cataclysmic climate change. This ‘fourth agricultural revolution’ will be driven by the development and adoption of new technology, and many of the critical innovations will come from start-ups. This creates a unique opportunity for investors to back the businesses that will shape the future of our agri-food systems.

“We saw an opportunity to contribute to this critical transition by creating a new specialist capital-raising advisory service, leveraging Agri-EPI Centre’s deep sector expertise and network. We’re phenomenally excited at the prospect of supporting innovative early stage businesses and founders, as well as the investors whose backing will help them grow into the leaders of the future of food.”

Dave Ross, CEO Agri-EPI Centre said:

“In recent years Agri EPI-Centre has had many contacts from investment houses looking to invest in the agri-tech sector as well as from SMEs struggling to find the financial stability they need to grow. Our response has been to create a business model to accommodate this lack in the market and the result is AIA.

“Agri-EPI Centre has a successful track-record of bringing innovative theory to practice via our in-house technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and strong network of industry contacts.”

Agri-tech Investment Advisory Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Sapia Partners LLP, an entity which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

AIA Leaflet

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

AIA services include:

For early stage (predominantly Seed & Series A) agri-food businesses that are based in the UK, or have/are building significant UK presence. AIA provides capital-raising and strategic advice, including: a review of business plans and financial models; access to specific technical market expertise; advice on capital-raising strategy; and development of pitch materials.

For investors (VCs, family offices, HNWIs) that are seeking investment opportunities in the markets AIA serve, i.e. early stage agri-food businesses primarily in the UK, AIA can share targeted opportunities based on a detailed understanding of investors’ specific areas of interest, as well as provide technical and commercial due diligence support, drawing on the deep expertise of its in-house team and sector network.

About Agri-EPI Centre

Agri-EPI Centre was established as part of the UK Government’s 2013 agricultural technologies strategy. The company supports and delivers research, development, demonstration and training in precision agriculture and engineering to maximise the agri-tech sector’s contribution to sustainable food production and supply. Agri-EPI Centre’svision is to support the development and growth of innovative with scientifically robust and commercially viable solutions to help farmers and agri-food businesses become more sustainable and profitable. Agri-EPI Centre is funded by Innovate UK.

About John Grealish

AIA senior investment advisor John Grealish’s 18-year career in venture capital and private equity includes direct investment and advisory work; he has advised on over 100 transactions. Prior to Agri-EPI Centre/AIA, John held leadership roles in the private equity practices of Bain and McKinsey as well as investment roles with several PE/VC funds. John holds a BA in History from the University of Oxford.

Edinburgh based start-up leads the way in grain monitoring

A cutting-edge grain analysis project has won £366,000 in innovation funding under the Defra Farming Innovation Programme from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Crover is an Edinburgh-based company creating robotic grain storage solutions for improved and automated monitoring and management of grains.

Cereal grains are the basis of staple food, yet post-harvest losses during long-term storage are exceptionally high, above 20% in the UK and worldwide. Pests are to blame, with grain moisture content and temperature being the most significant factors. Cereal storage sites such as farms, grain merchants, millers, and breweries, experience these challenges, which have high-cost implications in terms of lost revenue and costs to rectify.

Crover is developing a novel non-contact sensor for non-contact grain analysis able to detect specific molecular compounds within a radius of up to a few tens of centimetres, based on a novel miniaturised sensing technology. Crover aims to integrate this sensor onto their CROVER robot, the world’s first ‘underground drone’, which swims through grain bulks, and which is at the core of the CROVER autonomous Grain Storage Management system.

Lorenzo Conti, Founder and Managing Director of Crover says:

“At the moment the only grain bulk parameters that can be measured directly in-situ via sensors, without requiring a sample to be collected, are temperature, humidity/moisture and CO2 – we go into this project with the big ambition to expand that range significantly and to take measurements that are currently only possible in the lab into the grain bulk, while implementing that into the CROVER robot and system – think superman partners with batman, in a grain monitoring sense.”

Down the line, the result of this project is expected to allow for the expansion of the parameters that Crover will be able to measure, including specific nutrient measurements, insect presence and species identification aligned with different customer requirements. The project is being worked on in partnership with Agri-EPI Centre and Dyson Farming (formerly known as Beeswax).

“Having worked with the Agri-EPI Centre on other projects before, they are by now our go-to place for knowledge exchange, stakeholder engagement, events and project management in the UK. The project further strengthens the collaboration between our two entities.”

Duncan Ross, Business Development Manager (Crops) at Agri-EPI Centre explains:

“Working with Crover has shown how Agri-EPI Centre can support with the development of innovative, disruptive technologies. The Crover team has expanded both their ambition and number of employees as they’ve developed their robot, from idea formation to on-farm testing towards the creation of a commercial product that will tackle waste issues in bulk grain storage.

Ed Ford, Technical Agronomist at Dyson Farming says:

“We are excited to working with Crover on this project. The potential for this technology is twofold when it comes to gathering sampling parameters instore. Not only will it allow farmers to understand the quality and conditions of the grains they have but will also help improve health and safety around grain sampling”

The project aims to address the arable sector and wholegrain value chain’s need for novel and alternative crop protection solutions, in support of the current push toward holistic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches.

Small family business becomes market leader in hoof health

An innovative project leading the way in hoof health has won nearly £250,000 in innovation funding.

Hoofcount is a 10-year-old family business, focusing on how to keep cows’ hoofs clean and healthy. Their project is aimed at using vision to develop an early detection lameness monitoring system. It has won funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, for feasibility studies combining innovation with research and collaboration with farmers and growers.

Hoof health is a prevalent issue in agriculture, particularly in the dairy industry, as it is one of the main factors leading to poor milk production. Dairy cows are susceptible to a range of hoof issues including Digital dermatitis, sole ulcers, white line disease and overgrown hooves. These often show a visual change in the underside and back of the hoof. These issues can develop initially without the animal showing visual signs in its gait.

John Hardiman, Software Engineer at Hoofcount explained:

“Lameness is a key issue in dairy herds, with conservative estimates of 25% of dairy cattle suffering from lameness and each lame cow costing more than £300 in loss of production and treatment. The Hoofcount footbath is trusted and recommended by farmers, vets and hoof trimmers internationally as they are seeing a continuous fall in lameness on farms using the Hoofcount Automatic Footbath.”

Detecting and treating these issues at an early stage is beneficial to the animal in keeping the hooves healthy and preventing severe lameness which leads to a lower production, increased veterinary and treatment costs, reduced animal welfare, a higher Carbon footprint, and many other issues. Developing a system that can visualise these changes daily and detect any potential issues early will be of huge benefit to the national herd. Utilising computer vision and machine learning is Hoofcount’s preferred method for monitoring and detecting these issues.

“Collaboration with farmers is core to Hoofcount’s continued innovation and leading reputation in reliable foot-bathing for herd hoof health. Agri-EPI Centre has bolstered our collaboration, with the introduction of The Centre for Machine Vision (CMV) at University of the West of England Bristol and successful application for Innovate UK funding (IUK). CMV has a track record of successful computer vision within agriculture. Agri-EPI has been instrumental in the project funding application and continues to support the project organisation with its network of research farms.”

“As with our automatic footbaths, we know that we will never get rid of Digital dermatitis and hoof health issues completely, however we want to do everything we can to minimise the effects of them and reduce the spread.”

Duncan Forbes, Head of Dairy at Agri-EPI Centre said:

“This is a great example of the sort of practical collaborations we seek to create, bringing together innovative companies like Hoofcount with leading research experts like the team at CMV at UWE Bristol. Early detection of lameness is vital to meeting the challenge of delivering a substantial reduction in lameness prevalence in dairy herds. UK milk producers will very much welcome the benefits to cow welfare and cost reduction that this emerging technical solution will deliver.”

Tag Archive for: Innovation

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit

Next month World Agri-Tech will bring together leading agribusinesses, co-operatives, CPG brands, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers to accelerate the transition to sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. Agri-EPI is thrilled to be participating in the summit.

Make the most of two days of in-person sessions and networking in London and use code EPIFRIEND to get 10% off ticket price!

Agri-Tech and Environmental Sustainability

Agri-Tech and Environmental Sustainability is a free, one-day hybrid conference bringing together thought-leaders from the agrifood industry, research and policy alongside the four UK Agri-Tech Centres – Agrimetrics, Agri-EPI Centre, CHAP (Crop Health and Protection) and CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock). Experts in a variety of fields will explore, and discuss with delegates, the opportunities and challenges around harnessing innovation and technology for sustainable agrifood systems.

The agrifood sector is undergoing transformative change in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and protect landscapes and nature. Sustainability is now central to supply chain discussions across the UK and global food industries.

Technological innovation and data are vital in helping the food supply chain adapt to the sustainability challenge, from farm level right through to the consumer. Innovation can help businesses support the UK’s legal commitment to net zero; make food production smarter; and maximise supply chain efficiency and transparency – creating a food system that is better for both people and planet.

Speakers

  • Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive, Innovate UK
  • Prof. Pete Smith, Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen
  • Anna Turrell, Head of Environment, Tesco
  • Cliona Howie, Chief Executive Director, Foundation Earth

Broadcaster Charlotte Smith, of BBC Countryfile and BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, is guest compere.

Why attend?

  • Learn more about emerging technologies that could support sustainability within your business
  • Gain a fresh perspective and new insight to help prepare, withstand and adapt to shifting market demands
  • A valuable chance to step back, reflect and focus on key challenges and opportunities for futureproofing your business and wider supply chain
  • Be inspired by, and put your questions to, some of the leading and most influential thought-leaders in their respective fields of expertise.

Dairy Tech

Agri-EPI is delighted to be exhibiting at Dairy Tech 2022. This event showcases ground-breaking technology and new product launches, and delivers a wide variety of speaker sessions addressing the key topics affecting the industry.

The event will continue to be aimed at progressive dairy professionals regardless of their herd size or system type, reflecting the transformation of the sector over recent years, where it has been recognised that farmers must be competitive and able to match both their size and system to their available resources and milk contract.

Regardless of their cost base, future successful dairy businesses must be informed, resilient, proactive and efficient; Dairy-Tech provides this platform, alongside a recognition that dairy farming has become a professional industry.

Dairy-Tech will allow visitors to gain maximum exposure to new and exciting industry innovations relevant to their business, despite a large variation in cost base and system.

IAgrE Engineering for Food: Dairy Technology From Farm To Plant

Agri-EPI’s Head of Dairy, Duncan Forbes, is one of the speakers at the Online Dairy Seminar, organised by the Engineering for Food and Drink Special Interest Group. A free five-day event, consisting of a series of lunchtime webinars exploring the future of dairy and discussing key global Dairy research topics.

Audience and programme

We warmly invite our network working within food, engineering, technology & research to attend.

There are five daily sessions from 12-1pm (GMT) each day that feature two different speakers per day:

Monday 22 February

  1. Charles Nicklin CEng MIAgrE – CEO of IAgrE – will introduce the series and explain the role of the Institution in Food Engineering fir the future and how professional registration can benefit the careers of those involved in the sector
  2. Agri-EPI South West DairyDuncan Forbes – Head of Dairy at Agri-EPI Centre – Future Dairy – a vision for the future of milk production (touching upon the automated South West Dairy Development Centre in Shepton Mallet)

Tuesday 23 February

  1. Charles Adetunji – Edo University Iyamho – Food Safety and nutritional value of fermented and indigenous drinks to Nigeria & Sub-Saharan Africa
  2. Moses Abalaka – Federal University of Technology Minna – Enhancing the nutritional value of milk in rural areas of developing countries through processing

Wednesday 24 February

  1. Peter Swift – GEA Westfalia – Milking machines and links of machine and teat
  2. Daniel Bussmann – GEA Westfalia – Processing of milk focusing on the latest centrifugal separation technologies

Thursday 25 February

  1. Nik Watson – University of Nottingham – Optimising of cleaning processes through data driven sensing
  2. Heena Sharma – Dairy Institute India – Processing of goat milk and milk products : An overview

Friday 26 February

  1. Ulrich Mülle– TH OWL, Life Science Technologies – Counterstream injection technology case studies and potentials for dairy applications
  2. Daniel von der Gablentz – Vod-engineering – Validation of dairy bottling plants
  3. Charles Nicklin – CEO IAgrE – will round up the sessions and thank the participants

Event partners

Event partners include:

Edo University Iyamho, GEA Westfalia, National Dairy Institute India, Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, University of Nottingham, University of Technology Minna, Vod-engineering GmbH and Agri-EPI Centre.

 

“Food Engineering is a technical multi-disciplinary profession that deals with the system and structures of food, pro-duction processes as well as physical, (bio)chemical and biological transformation processes. It is based on scientific laws and economical, ecological and social, cultural and religious norms.”


Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE)About IAgrE

The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) is a professional membership organisation with grades for all those working, or with an interest in, engineering, science and technology within agriculture and the environment. A registered charity working for the public benefit, IAgrE brings together academics, practitioners and industry to share knowledge and promote professionalism in the advancement and application of technology in the landbased sector. For more information, please visit: https://iagre.org

New Scientist Live – Future of Food and Agriculture

On November 28, the Agri-Tech Centres will take part in the exciting New Scientist Live 2020 one-day event on ‘The Future of Food and Agriculture’, talking about the role of science and technology in producing what we eat.

At a time when global events are placing increasing pressure on food production and supply chains, the four UK Agri-Tech Centres are working with farmers across the UK to support greater efficiency, resilience and profitability. They support the development, evaluation and delivery of technology and data-driven solutions to the challenges faced by the farming industry. Their reach extends across all key industry players – science, business and government – and they provide a shared voice to inform and influence industry priorities and highlight important issues.

Agri-EPI and its fellow UK Agri-Tech Centres CHAP and CIEL will be running a host of engaging talks, with opportunities for the audience to ‘ask the experts’ about the role and impact of new technologies and techniques supporting sustainable food.

Agri-EPI will be running a live, 30-minute session from 2.30pm titled ‘Tech to Feed the World’. This will take viewers on a whistle stop tour of three of the newest and most exciting technologies involved in producing our food and getting it onto our plates.

The featured innovations, and the exerts behind them, are ‘SlugBot’, an amazing technology that helps reduce farmers’ need for pesticides by controlling crop-munching critters; Crover, a very clever robot that can ‘swim’ through grain stores to monitor conditions; and the new ‘wonder’ technology ‘cold plasma’ which has a multitude of surprising uses in farming and the food supply chain.

The Agri-Tech Centres will also be hosting virtual exhibition stand, with a packed programme of films, Q&As and resources accessible to visitors throughout the day.

Future of Food and Agriculture

New Scientist Live’s Future of Food and Agriculture is an online event for everyone who cares what’s on their plate. Hear how science and technology is making it happen in a day of inspiring talks, demos and interactive sessions at this awesome one-day virtual event.

Event topics:

  • Personalised nutrition
  • How our other senses alter our taste
  • Robot farming
  • Lab-grown meat
  • What to eat to save the planet
  • Gene editing
  • Climate change and farming

Speaker line-up:

  • Farmers creating robots to plant, cultivate and harvest crops;
  • Neil Stephens, the sociologist who studies the potential impact of lab-grown meat;
  • Mark Lynas, the GM activist-turned-advocate;
  • Tilly Collins, the entomologist, making the case for adding edible insects to our diets; the scientists transforming crops and livestock with gene-editing;
  • Tim Spector, the microbiome expert overturning everything we know about diets; the psychologist making food taste better by hacking your senses;

AgriFood Tech Investment Showcase 2020

Some of the most innovative AgriFood Tech companies in the UK are pitching for private investment. If you’re an investor, don’t miss out on the opportunity to find your next investment during KTN’s AgriFood Tech Investment Showcase 2020.

They are working on ground-breaking tech ideas that have the potential to change the face of the AgriFood sector.

The companies that will pitch on the day have gone through a strict selection process and Pitch training.

The panel, made up of KTN, Innovate UK, Rabobank and Farm491 will make a final selection of the most promising ventures. These exciting ventures will go on to pitch on the 19th October during the Showcase.

The AgriFood Tech Investment Showcase 2020 is only open to investors.

By registering, you are expressing your interest in attending. We’ll review expressions of interest once a week and confirm your ticket by email.

Why attend?

If you’re an investor looking for your next investment, here’s why you shouldn’t miss the AgriFood Tech Investment Showcase 2020:

  • You’ll find out about companies that are working on truly innovative projects and that have been selected by experts in AgriFood innovation
  • All of the companies are focused on AgriFood Tech, a sector in which the UK is a world leader
  • You’ll listen to at least 8 high-quality pitches chosen by our selection panel, in a short period of time
  • You’ll be able to ask your questions live
  • You’ll receive recorded pitches from an additional selection of companies after the showcase

Agenda

  • Introduction – KTN and Innovate UK
  • Pitches followed by live Q&A