Innovation Archives - Page 2 of 10 - Agri-EPI Centre

Innovation

Tag Archive for: Innovation

Drones help farm plan for sustainable future

A forward-thinking farmer has teamed up with agri-tech experts to help develop drone technology to head off the effects of future labour shortages.

Paul Hayward, of Cold Harbour Farm in Yorkshire, is working with the Agri-EPI Centre in Edinburgh to find new ways to work more efficiently.

He said:

“Our business uses skilled local people. They are tech literate but there’s no doubt we’re not getting younger people through so increasingly we will face staffing challenges.”

A current project the farm is working on with Agri-EPI involves making better use of drone technology by extending the use and application of it – and Paul said the training supplied by Agri-EPI would be particularly beneficial.

He said:

“We can fly it and take some images, but it is all about making best use of those images quickly and translating them onto a piece of kit that will go onto the field and do the job.

“If you could feed that information from the drone into the controller for the fertiliser spreader, or something like that, it would be a great help.

“Drone technology could ultimately help with timeliness, precision application and, not replacing people, but making people’s time more effective.”

The drone project is just one of the collaborations the farm has taken part in since being introduced to Agri-EPI by LEAF – Linking Environment and Farming. LEAF aims to show that intensive agriculture is consistent with caring for the environment, and Cold Harbour has been a demonstration farm since 1993.

Paul added:

“A network like Agri-EPI, which brings together knowledge, expertise, innovation and funding know-how, is not just a mutually beneficial arrangement for our business, it’s necessary to make progress.

“Individuals just can’t do what Agri-EPI do, you just can’t. You have to realise your limitations. It’s got to be a team approach.”

Cold Harbour Farm, near Beverley, has been in the same family since 1889 and covers 300 hectares. It is a largely arable farm, with some beef cattle. The farm is also part of The Green Pea Company, a co-operative of 250 farms growing vining peas for the Birds Eye factory in nearby Hull.

An unused cowshed at the farm has also been converted into Calf House Studios, a collection of affordable studio and workshop spaces for local artists and craftspeople.

For more information about the Agri-EPI Centres, visit www.agri-epicentre.com/ For information about Cold Harbour Farm, visit www.cold-harbour-farm.co.uk/

 

Cold Harbour Farm case study

Hyperspectral UAV

Agri-EPI Centre has invested in the Hyperspectral UAV.

Compared to multispectral imagery, hyperspectral imagery measures energy in narrower and more numerous bands, thus giving much more information on target. Hyperspectral image data is 3D cube, where each pixel holds a full spectrum across the range. Since spectra are as unique as ‘fingerprints’ to target, hyperspectral imagery can unveil features that multispectral imagery may miss out on.

Hyperspectral imaging technology has been under research for decades and has been demonstrated to be very powerful in many application areas including agriculture. Especially in recent years, with a more robust and rugged imaging product embedded onto the UAV platform, agri-tech has seen revolutionary improvements.

The HySpex turnkey UAV solution with Mjolnir VS-620 and Lidar includes all the necessary hardware and software for flight planning, data collection, data processing and calibration. The system is provided with a UAV platform, 3-axis gimbal mount for the hyperspectral unit with Lidar and corresponding spectral calibration, radiometric calibration and geometric calibration. The geometric calibration includes a sensor model for VNIR and SWIR hyperspectral sensor heads, subpixel co-alignment of the 2 sensor heads, boresight calibration of the 2 sensor heads and internal IMU system, boresight calibration of the Lidar unit and internal IMU system.

There’s a broad application potential, including assisting in the development of products in the following application areas:
• Drought/water/nutrient stress monitoring
• Plant pathogens detection
• Analysis of soil properties/Determination of soil types
• Land mapping
• Yield forecasting
• Land management

UAV System (XQ-1400S BFD HySpex Edition):
1. <25 kg MTOW with Mjolnir and gimbal
2. Up to 25 min flight endurance with 8 kg payload
3. Fitted with high performance GNSS/GPS and IMU to enable data to be captured to high geolocation accuracy
4. Fitted with advanced 3-axis digital gimbal to compensate for the pitching

Sensing System (HySpex Mjolnir VS-620, Velodyne VLP-32C) :
1. Fully-integrated co-aligned hyperspectral visible and near-infrared (VNIR) and short-wave infrared (SWIR) (400 – 2500nm) and LiDAR sensors, along with in-flight data capture and storage system
2. Spectral coverage of 400 – 2500 nm, with spectral resolution of 3 nm in VNIR and 5.1 nm over SWIR range. Bit resolution 12bit in VNIR and 16 bit in SWIR.
3. Double resolution data in the VNIR range
4. High-resolution (0.33 degree) LiDAR sensor, with 360° surround view with real-time 3D data

They Hyperspectral UAV has potential use as groundtruth technology for other technologies/systems as well.

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

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.

Tag Archive for: Innovation

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria