Livestock Archives - Agri-EPI Centre


Tag Archive for: Livestock

Ross Robertson joins Agri-EPI Centre

We are delighted to welcome Ross Robertson as our new Head of Agri-Tech (Mixed) and the newest member of our Agri-EPI team!

Coming from a farming background and working on farms from a young age, Ross graduated from SAC Craibstone with an HND in Agriculture and went straight to work on a pedigree Aberdeen Angus farm. He progressed into sales after several years and then into area management and product development with a local manufacturer of quality Livestock Equipment. Working with Technology equipment at development and design stages in an IUK project then lead to furthering his career into the job role of Head of Agri-Tech at Agri-EPI Centre.

In collaboration with our Head of Crops and Head of Dairy, this Mixed role will support our livestock farmers with a focus on regenerative agriculture and agricultural sustainability, with the aim of developing and and delivering Agri EPI’s offerings across the mixed farming sector including beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, grassland and combinable crops.

“Agri-Tech has a very exciting future ahead. The technologies that we are a part of developing will help the UK Agri Sector massively to carry on being one of the best in the world” — Ross Robertson, Head of Agri-Tech (Mixed) at Agri-EPI Centre

Welcome to Agri-EPI: Charlie Bowyer

We are thrilled to welcome our most recent Agri-EPI Centre recruit, Charlie Bowyer, to the team as our new Business Development Manager for Livestock and Agriculture.

Coming from a family mixed sheep and beef farm in South Wales, Charlie graduated from Harper Adams University with a degree in Agriculture in 2015. He then entered the biogas sector, where he worked until 2020 whilst remaining involved with the farm at home. More recently, Charlie worked in forage seed sales, before joining us here at Agri-EPI last month.

As our BD Manager for Livestock and Aquaculture, Charlie will be facilitating and supporting research & development projects within the application of precision agriculture for these sectors, such as trialling new and innovative slurry handling methods, precision monitoring fish growth, or validating new remote cattle health monitoring.

Charlie is excited to be exposed to new, cutting-edge innovations through Agri-EPI and to get involved with the wide range of companies, farmers and projects that we work with. He believes the application and gathering of data will make a huge impact on the future of agri-tech to refine processes and come up with the next generation of innovations.

“Agriculture has always been in a state of change, but current environmental, financial and consumer drivers are forcing change faster than ever before. If we are to meet the grand challenges of reducing emissions and pollution, increasing production and improving animal welfare and food quality, precision and innovation will be cornerstones of the future of agriculture and aquaculture. I am excited to be part of making this happen!” — Charlie Bowyer, Business Development Manager for Livestock and Aquaculture at Agri-EPI Centre

World Milk Day 2021: How agri-tech is boosting milk production

June 1st marks World Milk Day, a global celebration of the dairy sector and its most widely-consumed produce. Established in 2001 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the day focuses on promoting the benefits of milk and dairy products.

The dairy sector is central to agri-tech innovation, with a wide range of new technologies currently in development and trial. From robotic milking and feeding machines to environmental sensors and smart cow collars, agri-tech is key to improving efficiencies and productivity of the dairy sector, as well as improving animal welfare and care.

Innovative agri-tech solutions that draw on cutting-edge AI, imaging and robotics technologies are also essential to inspiring a new workforce in the sector. “The dairy farm of the future needs to be an exciting place for future generation to work in a world of ever-increasing choice,” reflects Duncan Forbes, Head of Dairy at Agri-EPI Centre.

Forbes continues that agri-tech must rise to the meet the “circular dairy challenge”, which includes achieving sustainability goals such as global net zero targets.

Innovations in dairy sector agri-tech

The range of applications for agri-tech, and the benefits smarter farming solutions can offer dairy farmers, are wide-ranging and exciting. Video is highlighted as an emerging technology for dairy cow management, as well as radar, audio and remote sensors, all of which can be used to monitor the wellbeing of cattle and help farmers make better decisions about their livestock.

SmARTview is one such project taking great strides to drive the adoption of agri-tech across the dairy sector. Currently in the trial stages, Agri-EPI Centre is working in partnership with the University of Bristol and mathematical modelling experts Quant Foundry to use affordable off-the-shelf cameras to monitor minute changes in cow behaviour.

The project aims to develop an AI-based system through which a “hololens” AR headset can recognise individual animals and allow the wearer to view key health and productivity data about livestock in real time.

Combined with machine learning and predictive analytics, the data collected by the SmARtview project can identify early signs of disease and illness in animals, putting quality data at farmers’ fingertips to improve decision-making, productivity and efficiency on-farm.

Looking forwards


This World Milk Day, we’re hugely proud to celebrate SmARTview as just one of our many exciting agri-tech innovations in the dairy sector currently being explored. We can’t wait to see what the dairy sector looks like on World Milk Day next year, or even in ten years.

You can find out more about our work in the dairy sector and projects similar to SmARTview on our website.

Welcoming NoFence to our Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

NoFence (, has created the world’s first virtual fencing for livestock: using GPS and cellular communication technology built into special collars to help farmers graze animals on pasture without the need for traditional penning and electric fences. Our vision is to improve animal welfare and make it easier for farmers to rear animals, as well as promote sustainable food production and help people to make better use of pasture resources throughout the world.

The Agri-EPI Centre Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub is designed to unite tech innovators, business thinkers, engineers and all agricultural expertise under one roof. From flexible office space to events and workshops, the hub supports agri-tech innovators to take their solutions from the planning stage to testing on commercial farms and ultimately to market.

Set in the home of British agricultural engineering, Shropshire, on the Harper Adams University campus, the hub is one of four Agri-EPI Centre facilities. We sat down with network member and Innovation Hub resident NoFence to catch up on their game-changing fencing solutions and how the Midlands centre is supporting agri-tech innovation.

The world’s first virtual fencing for livestock

Using GPS and cellular communication technology, Nofence eliminates the need for traditional pens and electric fences for livestock. Smart tech in special collars worn by the animals means they can graze on pastures without physical boundaries, making farming easier for farmers, more sustainable for the planet and kinder to animals.

“The Nofence system facilitates the managed grazing process,” explains the Nofence team. “[It allows] farmers to change the boundaries of the grazing zones throughout the day, in order to optimise the energy uptake in the grass and avoid overgrazing.”

“Grazing animals on open pasture land offers well-documented benefits for both wildlife and the environment. For example, grazing animals will often choose more dominant plant species to eat, allowing less competitive plants to thrive. In addition, grazing animals that lie and roll help increase structural diversity of the land, and trampling helps to create areas of bare ground that produce nurseries for seedlings.”

Inspire, inform, innovate

Nofence is just one of the many agri-tech innovators in residence at our Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, where the availability of all kinds of agricultural expertise and access to commercial farms for trials and research offer practical benefits to their agri-tech solutions.

“We are always striving to create a product that the farmers find useful,” they say. “It’s not about what we want to make, but about what the customers need.”

Testing technology in a real farming environment allows agri-tech companies to see the practical application of the technology being developed. For Nofence, it’s been hugely exciting to see how their work helps the farmer bring a herd out of the barn and into the pasture.

“Nofence takes the animals back outside, so that the farmer can benefit from all of the land and the ‘free food’ that the animals are made to collect. The grazing ruminant has always been there and is equipped with four legs to find their own food – Nofence allows them to do this, in a much simpler way than before.”

The future of agri-tech

Looking ahead, Nofence plans to use the Midlands Innovation Hub as a centre to continue developing innovative agri-tech solutions and forge links between the UK and their home country of Norway. For Nofence, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of self-sufficiency: “With our technology, countries like Norway and the UK can utilise all of their land to produce food and rely less on imports,” they explain.

With big plans and even bigger goals, Nofence shows no sign of slowing down and can rely on the Midlands Hub as a springboard for their projects to grow nationwide. “Our goal for the UK is that every farmer should have the option to fence virtually,” they declare. “Physical fencing is so 2018!”

To find out more about our Agri-Tech Innovation Hubs, and see how your business could benefit from the many spaces and opportunities available, contact us today.

COVID-19 will drive digital transformation for livestock vets

The COVID-19 crisis is a catalyst for increasing the rate of digital adoption by UK livestock vets, according to Agri-EPI Centre Board member Matt Dobbs.

Writing for the Animal Pharm website, Matt, who is practice lead for digital technology at Stonehaven Consulting, suggests coronavirus has led the already-challenged veterinary industry to question the ways it works and identify areas for improvement.

Factors already indirectly influencing the livestock veterinary industry, including the increasing focus on domestic food production, have come even more to the fore because of the crisis. As food production responds and adapts, says Matt, livestock vets must consider how they can stay ahead of the game.

Digital transformation for livestock vets

Digital solutions for monitoring livestock health and welfare have become more varied and more affordable over the past 10-15 years, while also becoming of greater interest to the big processors and retailers. Matt believes the rise of digital technology could very well revolutionise the types of services offered by livestock vets.

Citing the move by the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to respond to Covid-19 by legalising the remote prescribing of medications to farms, Matt suggests, that should this happen across Europe, we will reach a point where the majority of medicines are dispensed by just a few companies.

Loss of revenue in this area means farm vets will have to look at new streams, very likely involving tech solutions. This could see ruminant vets becoming consultants looking after larger animal populations remotely, like their pig and poultry counterparts already do.

Matt said:

“The future is going to be very different. You will see different business models, such as dedicated farm consultant working from the back of their car. Do they really need an office and all the expense that goes into having a clinical practice? All they really need is a decent laptop, access to health and production data and a car.”

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.

Webinar agri-tech opportunities in Columbia

International collaboration

The diverse opportunities in Colombia available to UK agri-tech companies is the focus of an Agri-EPI Centre webinar on Thursday 23 April.

Agri-EPI’s Director of Business Development Lisa Williams, who will co-host the webinar, was part of a recent trade mission to Colombia, organised by the Prosperity Fund, the Knowledge Transfer Network and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). During a tour of the country, Lisa witnessed first-hand the many opportunities, particularly those associated with fruit, coffee, livestock and cocoa supply chains.

Lisa said:

“There is so much potential in Colombia for UK agri-tech businesses. At present, there is a significant gap in yield between the smallest and largest producers and technology is needed to help fill the gap.

“It’s clear that the Colombian government and its agri-food sector want to increase food production, but, crucially, they want to achieve this sustainably, meaning technology has a huge role to play in increasing precision and efficiency across all sectors. The various organisations I met are extremely interested in working with UK agri-tech companies so there is a huge opportunity in this diverse country.”

Agri-tech in Colombia

Colombia is the third largest Latin American country by population (49.8m) and the fourth largest by GDP. It had an average economic growth of over 4% between 2001 and 2017 and grew 2.7% in 2018. Ranked third in Latin America and the Caribbean for “ease of doing business” in 2017 by World Bank and the IMF, Colombia has access to 60 countries and more than 1.5 billion consumers through its network of trade agreements. Some of these agreements include the US, Canada, the EU, and South Korea.

Hosting the webinar with Lisa will be representatives from the British Embassy Colombia, Catapult Satellite Applications and Knowledge Transfer Network.

The speakers will provide an overview of findings from the trade mission and how UK agri-tech companies can respond to the needs of the Colombian agri-food supply chain. There will also be information about Colombia’s major trade show, ‘Expo Agrofuturo’, which, coronavirus restrictions allowing, is planned for August this year.

More information and sign up details for the webinar can be found here.

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.

Tag Archive for: Livestock

Tag Archive for: Livestock

May 2021 Networking Event with Amazon Web Services

Join us on Thursday 6th May 2021 for our next member connect session with representatives from Amazon Web Services taking part in discussions on the topic of “Agriculture Supports Agriculture”, and inviting pitches from network members around:

  • How to build an open API ecosystem to simplify data exchange
  • Public/private partnerships and patterns for supporting innovation and experimentation
  • Research in plant and livestock

Guest speaker Karen Hildebrand from AMW

Karen Hildebrand PhD is the Technology Leader for the agriculture vertical at Amazon Web Services. Her main responsibility is understanding the unique technical challenges of producing the world’s food supplies which, as a 4th-generation farmer herself, is something Karen is hugely passionate about. Karen’s expertise includes the cloud transformation journey, with a background in Data Science in the agriculture space.

As well as hearing from Karen, five companies will have the opportunity to pitch about their technology or solution to other Agri-EPI Centre network members and Amazon Web Services. There will also be time for those involved in the session to discuss topics relevant to the sector.

Join our networking event

Previous events with Kubota, Zoetis and other network partners have covered topics from innovation in agri-tech to export opportunities for UK agri-businesses and spaces can fill up fast, so we encourage both members and non-members to pre-register for the event to guarantee a place.

Following the webinar and/or panel discussion of agri-tech issues, our member connect sessions offer Agri-EPI Centre network members and non-members a chance to share knowledge, discuss the agri-tech industry and connect with innovative SMEs as well as larger companies.

Sustainable Protein Production Summit

Developing a more sustainable livestock production system

As many of the most detrimental sustainability issues occur in the primary production phase, the Sustainable Protein Innovation Summit aims to showcase innovation in categories including raw materials, feed, health & nutrition, genetics and technology to enhance productivity and help the industry meet its net zero carbon goals.

Who should attend?

If you’re an SME developing an innovation to help tackle the sustainability challenges that occur in primary production, a feed and feed additive company, farming and trade association or retailer, then this innovation summit is for you.

And, with a host of guest speakers, and a key focus on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, this is a great opportunity for attendees to learn more about a wide range of topics, such as:

    • role of the retailer
    • collaborations across the supply chain
    • understanding the customer
    • disruptive innovation
    • funding opportunities
    • a farmer’s perspective.

Innovation Showcase

The innovation showcase is a unique opportunity for start-ups tackling the sustainability challenges that occur in primary production. Ten start-ups who are seeking financial investment or strategic partnerships will be offered the opportunity to present their technologies in front of the entire value chain.

Agri-EPI is proud to be involved

Agri-EPI’s CEO, Dave Ross, will be sitting on the Advisory Board at the Summit, and will be joined by other industry experts, including fellow Agri-Tech Centre, CIEL’s CEO, Lyndsay Chapman.

The Board will hear from ten start-ups, who will be presenting their technologies developed to tackle sustainability challenges that occur in primary production to showcase in front of the entire value chain, and who are seeking financial investment or strategic partnerships.

To find out more, and to register to attend, visit:

Trade mission India AgriTex 2019

As part of the UK’s new Technology Partnership with India, the Department for International Trade is organising a trade mission to India in September around the industry event AgriTex 2019, an agri-focused trade show with expected footfall to go over 35.000 visitors, that encompasses contemporary agriculture, dairy farming, food processing, aquaculture and horticulture high end technologies, along with their best practices that can profoundly help the countless farmers and platform owners.

The Department for International Trade is putting up a UK Pavilion at the event and will also organise satellite events during the delegation’s stay in Hyderabad. This is an opportunity for members with interest in India to join the trade mission and explore the Indian agri-markets. There is a fee to apply for a spot at the pavilion, but as this is a TAP funded event, companies are eligable to receive a grant that covers a part of the trip.

If there is interest to participate, please contact us via

Event partners

Department for International Trade

190905-7 AgriTex 2019 India banner

One Health 2019 Conference

One Health is the globally understood umbrella term for the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health.

The UK Government supports key domestic and interrelated global policies/action plans to tackle One Health problems – such as in the priorities and funding outlined in the International Research and Innovation Strategy. In the UK’s Industrial Strategy, the Government backed the challenge of Clean Growth. This is in the recognition that One Health issues can be tackled through human action, including technological innovations, while still growing the economy.

The One Health 2019 conference brings together industry with UK national centres, academia, Government departments and agencies, investors and innovators with a focus on marine, aquaculture, crops, livestock and human health related to our farmed and marine environments.

Delegates will explore UK and global One Health problems, such as food safety, supply and security pollinators vs pests and antimicrobial resistance to name a few. This will be done through networking and showcasing, seeking new collaborations to find commercial solutions.

Funding opportunities

A One Health Accelerator and a campaign fund from joint sponsors, the SETsquared Partnership, will be launched on the day to help consortia bid into the >£2.2bn global grants pot. Agri-EPI Centre supports her members interested in consortia building.

Who will be there?
Industry support organisations attending on the day include:

  • British Business Bank
  • Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP)
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
  • Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL)
  • Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Europe Enterprise Network (ESA)
  • National Oceanography Centre
  • Innovate UK
  • Kingston Maurward (Living Lab)
  • Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
  • National Farmers Union
  • SETsquared Partnership (Global Number 1 Business Incubator)
  • University of Southampton / National Biofilms Innovation Centre

Over 70 businesses from agri and aqua innovation industries will receive a personal invitation be invited. There will also be representation from related industries, finance, agencies and academia. Delegate lists will be available on the day.

Sign up now >>

About the organisers

Partners One Health 2019

The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) is one of four Agri-Tech centres established by the UK government. Agri-EPI Centre focuses on the delivery of research, development, demonstration and training on precision agriculture and engineering for the livestock, arable, horticulture and aquaculture sectors.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity. Acting as a strategic gateway to funding, Dorset LEP supports and delivers projects of long term economic benefit for all in Dorset through cross sector partnership.

SETsquared Partnership is a unique enterprise partnership and a dynamic collaboration between the five leading research-led UK universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Twice ranked as the Global No. 1 Business Incubator, they provide a wide range of highly acclaimed support programmes to help turn ideas into thriving businesses. Since launching in 2002, they have supported over 3,500 entrepreneurs helping them raise £1.8bn investment.

Scotland’s Beef Event 2019

A comprehensive programme of practical demonstrations highlighting the latest technology available to beef farmers will be a major feature of Scotland’s Beef Event 2019 to be held on an Aberdeenshire farm on May 30.

This biennial on-farm event for the beef industry, organised by the Scottish Beef Association, will be hosted by farmers, Robbie and Barbara Milne, and son, James, at North Bethelnie, Oldmeldrum, where the main enterprise is a suckler herd of 320 Salers and Salers cross cows crossed with Charolais, Aberdeen-Angus and Salers bulls, with all calves either finished on the farm or sold as forward stores.

Features of the extensive programme will include a demonstration by Agri-EPI Centre of the benefits of the insertion of a bolus to measure body temperature for the earlier prediction and warning of possible health problems such as pneumonia and Silent Herdsman collars, as used in the dairy industry, for fertility management and pregnancy diagnosis.

Partnership banner Beef Monitor Project

The Beef Monitor System, developed by Ritchie of Forfar in a project supported by Agri-EPI, Scotbeef and M&S, will also be featured. The system enables the performance of finishing cattle to be closely monitored by having them automatically weighed every time they drink.

Meet us at Scotland’s key beef event, where we have a joint stand with Ritchie’s and University of Strathclyde.

About SBA

We are a group of Scottish Beef producers dedicated to influencing and shaping the structure and business environment in which our industry operates.


UK Agri-Tech Centres ‘Transform Food Production’ Event | Livestock

Building on the success of a similar event last year, the four UK AgriTech Centres Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP and CIEL are joining up once again for two new events in March this year. There will be two events with individual events focused on either the Crop or Livestock sectors. Delegates can choose to attend either or both events. All events are free, fully catered and for invited guests only.


Why and for whom

This event will enable key decision makers and end users from across the Agri-Food supply chain to find out more about the capabilities of the Agri-Tech Centres, and particularly the leading R&D capabilities and unique facilities accessible from each Centre.

The event will provide delegates with an excellent opportunity to find out about how you can collaborate with the Centres and benefit from these capabilities. You will be able to:

  1. See live demonstrations of cutting-edge technology and facilities from all four Centres.
  2. Speak with key staff from the Centres, who will be happy to explore how they can help you and your organisation.
  3. Hear about funding opportunities for Agri-Tech R&D.
  4. Network with key people from across the agri-food industry, research, government and funding organisations such as Innovate UK.
  5. A full programme will be confirmed in due course, with the event running from 9:30 – 4:30 with the main part of the agenda consisting of demonstrations and tours of facilities before lunch, with presentations on case studies and funding opportunities and plenty of networking in the afternoon.

Please note the tours will include tours of outdoor facilities, so appropriate clothing is recommended.


Both events will be held at Cockle Park Farm, which is a fully operational farm owned by Newcastle University, so the technologies on display will be aimed at practical application on farm. There will also be a theme to demonstrate how the Agri-Tech Centres can contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy of ‘Transforming Food Production’ with a focus on the development and adoption of disruptive data-driven solutions.

How to register

Click here to express interest to attend the Livestock event on 28 March 2019 >>

Registration is exclusively for the Livestock event only if you would alternatively or additionally like to attend the Plants and Crops event please visit the other event registration page.

Background to the Agri-Tech Centres

The Centres for Agricultural Innovation (or Agri-Tech Centres) are a collaborative model between the agri-tech sector and government, established as part of the UK Agri-Tech Strategy. There are four Centres covering all of UK Agri-Tech, and more details are here.UK AgriTech Centres Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP and CIELConditions of registration

  • Places at this event are strictly limited, and attendance is by invitation only. If you are unable to attend but would like a colleague from your organisation to attend instead, please invite them to register via the link above.
  • If you have not been specifically invited then you can submit an Expression of Interest to attend. Please do not book any travel until you receive formal confirmation direct from the KTN that you have been allocated a place to attend.
  • As part of your registration for this event, your contact details will be made available to all four Agri-Tech Centres, the KTN and Innovate UK, as well as other government departments.


There is ample free parking at the venue which is around 30-40 minutes drive from Newcastle city centre. If you are planning on using public transport we will endeavour to provide free transfers by pre-arranged transportation to and from certain locations to fit with the proposed agenda, subject to demand. Please indicate on registration which location you plan to arrive into to utilise this transfer.

About organiser

The Knowledge Transfer Network is the UK’s innovation network. We bring together business, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to develop new products, processes and services. We can help you develop ideas, expertise and technologies, that have the potential to be world-beating products. Central to what we do is the initiation and building of collaborations.