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Agri-EPI appoints Dr Trisha Toop as Chief Technical Officer

Agri-EPI is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Trisha Toop as its new Chief Technical Officer. 

Trisha, who joins Agri-EPI from Harper Adams University, is an expert in sustainable systems development with a passion in transforming agricultural systems through the use of novel targeted smart technology. 

Taking up post on 1 October, Trisha will provide leadership, drive innovation, and steer Agri-EPI’s technical growth. She will work with project partners, governments, industry and the international agri-tech community to drive help Agri-EPI’s technological vision and strategy. 

Trisha started out in the automotive engineering sector, before completing a degree in genetics and biochemistry. After winning a national competition which funded an interdisciplinary PhD in engineering and biochemistry, the focus of her work has been on the development of novel sustainable products and processes in the agri-food and agri-tech sectors. Trisha has worked with companies of all sizes across these sectors assisting them with innovation and facilitating cutting edge research with a global impact. She has worked as a research scientist, sustainability and techno-economic analysis expert and innovation manager for a number of companies. 

Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive, Dave Ross, said: “We are very much looking forward welcoming Trisha to Agri-EPI. Trisha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which we know will help to shape and deliver our priorities during this pivotal time for us, and for the agri-food industry.” 

Trisha said: “I am really excited to be taking up my new position with Agri-EPI. This is a time where agriculture faces the greatest change since the first agricultural revolution and the development of technology is key. To be able to work with centre members to develop and implement the game changing technology needed is a great opportunity.” 

Trish succeeds Dr Shamal Mohammed who has taken up a new position as Agri-Tech Director with Silal, an organisation supporting food security in the United Arab Emirates. 

Producing more sustainably: How can tech support farms to reach their goals?

 

The role of agri-tech in the journey towards more economically and environmentally sustainable farming is the focus of Agri-EPI annual conference on 28 October.

The free, online event will bring together farmers and the wider agri-food industry, technology developers and start-ups, investors, and researchers in a series of round-table discussions about the role of data and technology in improving productivity and profit while protecting and enhancing the environment. Farmers involved in Agri-EPI’s Satellite Farm Network will join the conversation.

Lisa Williams, Agri-EPI’s Director of Business Development said: “Drawing on our links with every part of the agri-tech landscape, Agri-EPI’s aim is to bring together a diverse group of participants to add their perspectives and expertise on what’s required to deliver effective new technology that really makes a difference to farmers as they focus on sustaining their businesses during this time of transition for the industry.”

The winners of Agri-EPI’s Agri-tech Excellence Award will also be announced at the event. Supported by Marks & Spencer, Syngenta, Leyton, Barclays and Kubota, the Awards recognise companies that have had a beneficial impact on-farm.

The shortlisted companies are:

Category 1: UK on-farm impact

Flox AI

Flox use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve bird welfare + flock performance

Oxi-tech Solutions

 Oxi-Tech Solutions has commercialised a novel Patented technology that creates the most powerful industrial disinfectant Currently in use today dissolved ozone created entirely from the water on-farm and low voltage electricity.

Taylor Technologies

Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence based technology system that enables a conventional crop sprayer to become a precise, intelligent and futuristic weed-targeting spot-sprayer.

Bx Technologies

Bx is an ambitious Climate-AgriTech company, fusing technology with nature to transform how we grow food.

Pruex Ltd

Pruex have an innovative approach, using non-infective bacteria, similar to soil bacteria, to outcompete disease causing bacteria, and provide livestock with healthier environments to live in.

B-Hive Innovations

B-hive Innovations is a dedicated research and development company for the fresh produce industry technologies include HarvestEye & TuberScan.

Category 2: International on-farm impact

ALVÁTECH

ALVÁTECH is a revolutionary Eco-friendly water technology for agriculture and livestock, allowing farmers to use saline and hard water to grow more, increase profits and reduce water consumption.Kisan Hub

The KisanHub Platform is a suite of software delivering real-time agri-food supply chain and procurement information to help Producer Groups manage supply and demand.

Onachil Food Store

Onachil makes, sells/ rents solar powered cold chain technologies to farmers which they use to safely preserve their produce after harvest as we link them directly to buyers using our E-Commerce AI conversational chatbot.

Farm ERP

FarmERP is an intelligent and next-generation farm management platform, developed to ready a wide range of entities and stakeholders for the future.

Wicow

 wiCow is a smart, state of art, early warning, and health tracking technology for cattle and buffalos.

Tavant

 Our solutions, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, help improve operational efficiency, productivity, speed and accuracy in the interconnected world to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment.

 

Held on the virtual conference Hopin, the conference will also provide a useful networking opportunity.

To find out more and register to join the event visit: Agri-EPI Centre’s Annual Conference | The path to sustainable Farming (hopin.com)

World Water Day 2021: Agritech solutions for better resource management

The 22nd March is World Water Day, an observance day established by the United Nations to highlight the importance of fresh water and raise awareness of the millions of people around the world who still don’t have access to the crucial resource.

World Water Day was established in 1993 to bring greater attention to water scarcity, water pollution, sanitation, water supply and climate change, with each annual event centring on themes from improving hygiene to sustainability.

Events take place around the world to celebrate the day, including fundraising events, campaign launches, volunteering opportunities and discussion in both the real and digital world on key water issues.

World Water Day 2021

Taking place largely online, World Water Day 2021 is focused on ‘Valuing Water’, with activities designed to support the achieved of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

Whether it’s household or industrial use, water is integral to how we live, eat and work, with wider impacts on education, health and economics. Safeguarding this essential – and crucially, finite – resource is at the heart of World Water Day 2021, as climate change and peak population levels put global water supply under more pressure than ever before.

Sustainable and Equitable water resource management is of particular importance to the agriculture sector, and the UN World Water Development Report 2021 underlines just how often water is overlooked.

Working with agri-tech partners for greater sustainability

Agri-EPI Centre works with a range of aquaculture and agritech specialists, supporting farmers, academic institutions and a range of other partners to improve the sustainability, efficiency and productivity of water use in agriculture. this World Water Day, we’re celebrating the incredible work agri-tech companies are doing to preserve precious water supplies and benefit the entire planet.

ALVÁTECH 

ALVÁTECH is a leading supplier of affordable technology that enables farmers to use water with higher salinity for irrigation and livestock, so they can save fresh water and improve crop growth. Currently operating in 11 countries around the world, ALVÁTECH’s EMF Active Water System is at the forefront of improving water management in agriculture.

Aqua Innovation Ltd

Developing innovative solutions for the salmon farming industry, Aqua Innovation Ltd. support aquaculture farmers to create the best environments for fish farming, through projects such as the SeaCAP 6000. From fish welfare to waste management and regulatory issues, the work of Aqua Innovation Ltd is driving growth of the aquaculture sector.

Aquapulse

Aquapulse’s natural, non-chemical water technology for the agriculture, fish farming and horticulture sectors, delivering environmental benefits as well as improving sustainability, hygiene and greater profit margins. Naturally cleaner water systems mean healthier animals and crops, and better quality produce such as dairy , fruit and vegetables.

Oxi-Tech Solutions

Emerging UK tech company Oxi-Tech Solutions is currently commercialising a game-changing water disinfection system set to improve animal hygiene and water quality for a range of sectors. Their development of the most powerful oxidant in use today, Dissolved Ozone, removes chemicals and plastics found in water, eliminating the need for chlorine for dairy farmers.

SEM World

Hugely relevant to the 2021 World Water Day theme of ‘Valuing Water’, SEM Energy Ltd works to recycle waste into new products and contribute to a circular, waste-free economy. From meter installations to rust removal, SEM’s solutions usue the latest technology for outstanding results.

Agriculture and World Water Day

Both now and in the future, agri-tech will be key to better management of water resources; from improving crop productivity relative to their water consumption to crop resilience to flooding and drought. Real-time monitoring of crop, soil and weather data can ensure optimal use of water, while biotechnology will enable farmers to produce more with less water.

To find out more about World Water Day and UN-led events you can get involved with, visit the UN Water page. To discover our network (or join it!), you can see our full list of network members and see how agri-tech is transforming agriculture through our projects.

A3 Scotland 2022: Save the date

As sponsor and event partner, Agri-EPI announces the inaugural A3 Scotland for this year to be postponed to 26-27 April in 2022.

Transition to Net Zero

The conference, themed ‘Transition to Net Zero, focuses on encouraging innovation, investment and collaboration in animal health and sustainable food production and brings together industry, investors and policymakers from around the world to discuss strategic partnerships and discover the latest R&D. 

Initially the event was scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 April this year. However, with the ongoing uncertainty around international travelling, face-to-face networking and site tours, the organising committee has made the decision to postpone the event to a safer and more opportune time. The conference will be held next year on 26-27 April 2022. 

The rescheduled event will offer the same exciting programme based around the theme of ‘Transition to Net Zero’, with an exciting and engaging line-up of committed thought leaders from across industry, science and policy. If you are interested in being involved as a speaker, sponsor or delegate, do not hesitate to get in touch and be sure to follow on social media for the latest updates.

A3 | Animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture

‘A3’ refers to animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture and no coincidence for this event to be held in Scotland. With the largest cluster of animal bioscience/aquaculture researchers in Europe, Scotland is already a global player in the ‘A3’ sector. The Roslin area in particular, are internationally recognised as having strengths in A3, both in the research and commercial environments. 

The conference programme offers two core days 26-27 April of expert speakers from across the sectors, panel discussions and networking opportunities. Wrapped around this are optional pre-and post-conference tours showcasing some of Scotland’s world class A3 facilities and expertise. The A3 conference is taking place on the doorstep of our Northern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub in Edinburgh.

A3 Event partners

A3 Sponsors

The not-for-profit event is being organised by the Roslin Innovation Centre, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University’s Roslin InstituteMidlothian Science Zone, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. Agri-EPI and its fellow UK agri-tech innovation centre CIEL are amongst the event’s sponsors and are providing input to the programme.

Other partners involved are: Visit Scotland, Highlands and islands Enterprise (HIE), Data Driven Innovation (DDI), Global Academy of Agriculture and food security (University of Edinburgh); Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) food, Moredun Research Institute, SRUC, SEFARI and most recent signed up partner Zoetis.

Agri-EPI is proud partner and encourages her industry, academic and governmental network to keep an eye out on event promotion closer to date and be sure not to miss this first ever A3 event!

Interested?

For more information and to register for A3 Scotland 2022, the inaugural conference for the Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture (AAA) sectors, please visit: bit.ly/A3Scotland2022.

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 animal health report highlights lessons learned Covid-19 pandemic

Lessons learned from Covid-19 pandemic highlighted in new animal health report

The animal health industry needs to be better prepared for disruptions like Covid-19 and have resiliency plans in place to handle supply and demand.

This is the ‘lessons learned’ message from Agri-EPI’s Chief Executive Dave Ross in a new report exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the global animal health industry.

Report Animal Health Industry Response COVID19 - Kisaco ResearchThe production of Animal Health Industry Response to COVID-19 and the Rise of Telemedicine was co-ordinated by Kisaco Research. It seeks to assess the full impact of the outbreak across the sector, and provide insight in the form of industry surveys, data collection, discussions, and interviews with market leaders and emerging companies.

Dave was one of 55 contributing experts from around the world. He comments in the report on labour shortages and the skills gap from COVID and Brexit, the issue of food protectionism and overall lessons learned from the advent of the pandemic.

On the latter point, Dave says that the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the food supply chain when a disruptor comes into the market and highlighted the lack of preparations companies and suppliers had to pivot to other markets.

He cites in the report the example of the UK dairy sector, where 35 million litres of milk were being produced a day, pre-Covid. A significant proportion of the approximately 10 million litres destined for the service sector ended up being wasted when demand stopped abruptly due to lockdown. This led to a subsequent price collapse, with the current system ‘not being able to turn off the tap’ on supply.

Dave also highlights how the crisis has brought a renewed focus on the need to reduce food waste, with 9.5 million tons of food being lost each year in the UK.

The report coincides with Animal Health Investment USA, a large scale event on 12 and 13 October connecting businesses and investors around opportunities in the animal health industry. Dave sits on the event’s Global Advisory Board.

To get hold of the report, please get in touch with Kisaco Research.

Minimising waste with water sustainability

Water sustainability and agriculture

In recognition of water saving week, Agri-EPI Centre’s Membership and Events Manager, Annabelle Gardner, spoke with member Grant Leslie, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of SEM Energy, an environmentally conscious sustainability partner in waste and water effluent treatment.

SEM Energy Offices

SEM Energy Offices

What does your company do?

We are an environmentally conscious sustainability partner in waste and water effluent treatment. Our team of scientists, engineers and technologists pioneer leading-edge technologies that process co-products from ‘waste’ streams and deliver innovative water treatment solutions.

Our goal is to:

  • Reduce waste
  • Maximise solid matter capture
  • Save on haulage, storage and logistics costs
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Shrink the carbon footprint

What is your company vision?

A waste-free, circular economy in the future, securing our planet’s health and wealth for generations to come. We aim to minimise the impact of waste on the environment and, where possible, create value from its co-product waste streams and ensure compliance with discharge legislation.

Can you provide a case-study or example of the sustainable work you currently undertake in agriculture?

On-site conversion of agricultural animal slurry into organic horticulture products:

  • Aim – a reduction in slurry waste handling (Our client’s slurry production totalled 32,000 tonnes per annum.)
  • Method – using SEM technology to separate the liquid phase and de-water dry matter to create economically and socially valuable by-products
  • Results: water safe to discharge to local watercourse; solids (4% of total volume) used as fertiliser locally; 23% saving in handling, storage and transport costs.

We have been working with a client for the past year, applying our ever-evolving range of technologies and solutions to reduce the handling of slurry waste. Our aim is two-fold: effective separation of the liquid phase for treatment and re-use, and substantial de-watering of the dry matter to create an optimised, valuable by-product which can be re-purposed as livestock bedding, biofuel, fertiliser or growth media.

We implemented our patented MDM technology, which mechanically removes the liquid phase from slurries. It’s so effective that it also captures micro-solids as small as colloidal particles.

We integrated this with our I-DAF unit. An intelligent and autonomous upgrade to most DAF systems on the market today, it’s designed to maximise the removal of: total suspended solids (TSS); biochemical oxygen demand (BOD); chemical oxygen demand (COD) and heavy metals.

Sticking to our environmental guns, we used plant-based coagulant, flocculant and pH correction products that are automatically dosed, based on built in instrumentation readings. This ensured both homogenous, reliable performance and minimal chemical usage. The biodegradable formulations minimise environmental impact, whichever sludge disposal route chosen.

In order to ensure maximum nutrient capture and transfer from the liquid phase into the solids, we used another patented technology of ours – DRAM Filtration – to remove nutrients and heavy metals. DRAM utilises an organic matrix, over 99% of which is comprised of an existing and sustainable, agriculturally produced, grain-based, waste co-product from alcohol distillation.

The filtration process works through sorption, and readily sorbs ammonium nitrate and phosphorous. Combined with an additional proprietary reagent (DRAM+) which provides potassium, these form the essential fertilising elements.

Can you give an example of one of your technologies that focuses on water saving and water sustainability?

H2OPE – our flagship product for the agricultural market:

  • Removes volatile contaminants and de-waters
  • Optimises valuable ingrained nutrients
  • Remaining solid matter can be pelletised for use as fertiliser or as a nutritionally balanced growth media

The environmental benefits:

  • Reduction in application of nutrient rich liquids to agricultural land
  • Decrease in diffuse pollution of waterways due to agricultural run-off
  • Reduced carbon impact due to reduction in transport of slurries off-site
  • Significant reduction in the carbon generated by the manufacture of fertiliser

The social benefits:

  • Fewer greenhouse gases
  • Effluents can be treated on-site
  • Economic savings, as one of the by-products is steam, which can be used for on-site energy generation and distilled water.
  • Less odour emissions

Can you describe the significance of water sustainability in the agricultural industry?

Our goal is always to clean water well enough for re-use and re-purpose at source, whether that is for washdown water or perhaps irrigation. An absolute must for us, this aligns not only with our aims, but those of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Goals.

The sector has been, and will continue to be, paramount to the global economy. By protecting our ecosystems from potentially harmful co-products, we are sustaining not just the agriculture industry, but also the evolution of a circular economy.

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