Posts

Farmers to help identify key agri-tech areas in Scotland

With a survey focused on key agri-tech areas of Scotland, as part of a wider project funded by Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), beef and sheep farmers, consultants, vets and researchers are being asked for their views on the use of modern technology. Information collected in a new survey will be used to identify key areas for the use of agri-tech to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in both beef and sheep production systems in Scotland.

Survey agri-tech Scotland

We invite farmers and food producers to fill out the agri-tech survey. The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to complete and can be completed anonymously. This survey can also be completed by respondents outside Scotland and closes on 31st of August.

 

SRUC’s Jenna Bowen, who is leading the study, said:

“The potential benefits of using agri-tech in the beef and sheep sector are far reaching. This survey will help us to understand industry views and experiences with existing systems from participants who use these systems on a regular basis, and help identify where research should be prioritised.”

Project partners

The project team includes Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), The Moredun Research Institute and Agri-EPI Centre.

Agri-EPI Logo Primary Square
Moredun Research Institute

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.

New film highlights technology for sustainable dairy production

Dairy Production technology

Agri-EPI’s South West Dairy Development Centre (SWDDC) in Somerset and one of its satellite farm, Parkend Farm in Fife, are featured in a new film highlighting the development of technology in sustainable dairy production.

The video was produced as part of the Horizon 2020 ‘Internet of Food & Farm’ project. It explores the work of the project’s Dairy Trial Team at Strathclyde University, led by Professors Ivan Andonovic and Craig Michie.

The team is looking at sensors and Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for helping farmers increase their herds’ milk yields, based around a new platform called Herdsman+.

Lots of data about a cow’s health, fertility and performance can be collected using tools such as internet-connect collars, leg tags and milking robots. The key to generating the most accurate picture of each cow in the herd is to be able to integrate this data. Herdsman+ does exactly that, analysing the information to allow the farmer to make well-informed management decisions for optimising each animal’s health, welfare and milk yield.

Sustainable dairy

Agri-EPI has supported the Dairy Trial Team by providing data from the SWDDC and Park End dairy farm. The two dairies have also hosted events for farmers to consult them about new and future tools which may support their businesses’ sustainability during these challenging times for the dairy sector.

 


Logo Science Animated

Science Animated

This video has created by Science Animated is a scientific communication agency who develop engaging and accessible animations based on specific researcher’s work. For more information: https://sciani.com

 

South West Farmer’s Farm Manager of the Year 2019 Announced

Jake Freestone and Duncan Forbes

Jake Freestone recognised as Farmer of the Year 2019

Congratulations to Jake Freestone from Overbury Estate, Tewkesbury, who has been announced as the South West Farmer’s Farm Manager of the Year.

The award is well deserved: Jake, who partners with Agri-EPI as a Satellite Farmer, has recently participated in an exciting Agri-EPI-led trial of high-tech crop scanning equipment which can measure precisely a grain crop’s protein, moisture and oil content as it is being harvested. Jake used it to measure the protein content of milling wheat, allowing him to segregate or blend batches of grain to the desired protein levels, thereby maximising its market value. It is in recognition of his work that Jake has received the South West Farmer award.

Jake was named the winner at a ceremony in Taunton, Somerset, yesterday evening.

Runner-up was Duncan Forbes, Agri-EPI Centre Head of Dairy Development.

Duncan has worked in the dairy industry for around 40 years and has always been focused on moving with the times in response to the changes and challenges facing the industry. Duncan has spent much of his career with Kingshay agricultural consultants in Somerset but, since summer 2018, has also taken on the role of managing Agri-EPI’s South West Dairy Development Centre.

The awards panel praised both Jake and Duncan for their abilities to plan, evaluate and adjust strategies to deliver profitable and sustainable farm businesses, to manage risk and to develop new ways to deal with traditional farming issues.

 

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.

Beef Satellite Farmer shortlisted for Farmers Weekly Awards

Congratulations to Niall Jeffrey of Bielgrange Farm in East Lothian on being named as a finalist in the Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year award for 2019.

Niall was shortlisted in recognition of his commitment to the continuous improvement of his business – something which is also a key driver of his partnership with Agri-EPI.

Beef monitor

During his three years as an Agri-EPI Satellite Farmer, Niall has been trialling a variety of technologies, including the AFI Milk Silent Herdsman Collar for monitoring fertility and health and a quadcopter drone for aerial imagery of fields and stock.  He is also involved in ongoing trials of the Ritchie Beef Monitor, a technology he believes has great potential.

The Beef Monitor is a weigh crate with an integrated water trough, allowing cattle from 350kg to finishing to be weighed every time they drink. It can be used indoors or with animals at grass.

Data can be automatically uploaded to the cloud or exported via Bluetooth, to allow viewing of weights by phone, PC or tablet as well as on the Monitor itself.

Software is currently being developed to analyse the data collected, producing alerts if an animal is underperforming or is nearing finished weight.

Before using the crate, beef farmer Niall was weighing his cattle every three weeks in the run-up to finishing, a 1.5-hour process with EID tags, or a three-hour process without.

The £4,500 Beef Monitor offers Niall a more efficient and precise means of keeping track of animals that are nearing finishing, as well as those that are not performing.

He said:

The potential for the beef monitor is great. If you are a farmer who doesn’t weigh cattle in the run up to finishing, then to go from not weighing to using one of these is a huge leap, but it will help you hit the market spec.

We wish Niall luck in the awards, which take place on Thursday 3rd October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

 

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.

Another ground-breaking beef project for East Lothian Satellite Farmer

Agri-EPI Satellite Farm Network Logo

A beef producer working with Agri-EPI as one of its ‘satellite farmers’ is involved in an innovative scheme with Mark & Spencer which uses technology perhaps more commonly associated with crime scenes than supermarkets. Scottish beef farmer Niall Jeffrey, of Bielgrange Farm in East Lothian, is taking part in the M&S scheme using DNA samples to allow meat products on the shelves to be traced back to the exact animal they are from.

The technology has the potential to give the consumer greater confidence about the source of their meat, to further boost the reputation of Scotland’s red meat around the world and even to make beef farming more efficient.

Niall was recently featured on BBC Scotland’s Landward programme explaining the scheme.

Marks & Spencer is building on the compulsory tagging system which has been in place since 2000 and provides each animal with its own passport.

Under the new scheme, each animal’s passport is scanned at the abattoir and the ear tag number recorded. The carcass is then swabbed, and a DNA sample taken. This means that a packet of meat can be tested, providing information about any meat that contributed to it, down to the farm and the exact animal it came from.

Steve McLean, the Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at Marks and Spencer, said: “DNA is unique genetic fingerprint. It’s closely associated with a crime scene, it works in the same way, we are able to trace the product regardless of how complex a final retail product that we are making is and we can work it back the way. So it gives us the genetic fingerprint of all the animals that make up that final retail product.”

“Through the work that we are doing we are able to identify lines that are more efficient, that give better eating quality. For me when we take that information and we build it back into breeding programs we will make our Scottish farming base all the more efficient and that’s got to be good for the industry.”

Logo BBCAgri-EPI’s Farms & Commercial Manager Gavin Dick said: “While Agri-EPI isn’t directly involved in this project, it demonstrates that, like all of our satellite farmers, Niall is an innovator who is open to trying new things to improve the productivity of his business and the quality of his products. Farmers like Niall are leading the way in transforming food production.”

Read more about this project on the BBC website.

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.

Busy year ahead for Satellite Farm Network

A programme of regional workshops for the Agri-EPI Satellite Farmers has resulted in great feedback and lots of ideas for the future activities of the network, according to Agri-EPI Farms and Commercial Manager Gavin Dick. Gavin has hosted five of six planned workshops since the beginning of the 2019. Such events provide an important opportunity for farmers in the network to share their experiences and provide Agri-EPI with feedback that helps to shape the network’s future programme.

Precision farming solutions

Agri-EPI Satellite Farm Network logoIn addition, the meetings offer the chance for the farmers to undertake training in some of the technology Agri-EPI has supplied for use on their farms. This time, the training covered drones and SoilEssentials’ new precision farming software platform KORE. This platform analyses images of farmland captured by drone, allowing the farmers to make decisions around inputs such as seed or fertiliser, with the ultimate aim of evening out crop growth.

Gavin said: “The feedback provided by the farmers at the workshops has been excellent and we’re very grateful to them for taking part. We have discussed a number of ideas for the future, such as plans to build on the success of the CropScan grain quality monitor trials at Overbury and Shimpling Park farms. We hope to bring this innovative technology to Scotland for trials malting barley production. We also plan to extend the application of the Near Infrared Technology used by Cropscan to other crop quality measures. We are beginning to build momentum with the Satellite Farm Network and, with the ongoing support and enthusiasm of the farmers, we are looking forward to a busy and productive 2019.”

17 January 2019 Satellite Farm Workshop Shimpling Park Farm

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria