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Aquaculture Innovation Centre opens on Scotland’s Argyll coast

An array of aquaculture specialists, academics and industry representatives gathered at Loch Fyne on Scotland’s Argyll coast yesterday, 15th June, to witness the formal opening of Agri-EPI Centre’s new Marine Aquaculture Innovation Centre (MAIC).

 

Guests of the launch event were welcomed by Managing Director of Otter Ferry Seafish, Alastair Barge, and CEO of Agri-EPI Centre, Dave Ross, who introduced the new centre.

 

“The facility is scaled and configured to bridge gaps identified by industry, including testing of instrumentation and validation of operational welfare indicators, and other trials, under controlled conditions with near market-sized farmed fish. The proposed investment is industry led – responding to industry demand and taking design and direction from that demand.”

 

Guests enjoyed a tour of the facilities, a networking lunch, and the witnessing of the formal opening of the centre.

 

In conjunction with independent aquaculture company, Otter Ferry Seafish (OFS) – and jointly funded by Innovate UK and Agri-EPI Centre – the Marine Aquaculture Innovation Centre offers fully serviced research and development facilities to aquaculture producers and technology providers and is aimed at helping to drive sustainable solutions and improve efficiency for the UK aquaculture industry.

 

Alastair Barge, Managing Director of Otter Ferry Seafish, explained:

“Research has been at the heart of the company since day one, but our recent collaboration with Agri-EPI has added new impact and a new species in salmon. We have a great mix of industry and research, and together we can forge the way as innovators in sustainable aquaculture.”

 

Agri-EPI Centre has over 220 industry focused stakeholder members spanning retailers, supply chain associations, and high-tech companies, large and small, and this collaboration helps drive innovation and solutions within the sector.

 

“Enabling assets such as the new Marine Aquaculture Innovation Centre provide industry and academia with bespoke industry-focused facilities to perform development testing, validation and solution-finding.”

 

If you would like more information about Agri-EPI Centre, please visit: https://twc.agri-epicentre.com/

New innovation centre unlocks aquaculture opportunities

Agri-EPI Centre’s latest innovation hub at Loch Fyne on Scotland’s Argyll coast will help to drive sustainable solutions and improve efficiency for the UK aquaculture industry.

In partnership with independent aquaculture company, Otter Ferry Seafish (OFS) – and jointly funded by Innovate UK and Agri-EPI Centre – the Marine Aquaculture and Innovation Centre (MAIC) offers fully serviced research and development facilities to aquaculture producers and technology providers.

For further information on the MAIC facility or to enquire about research collaboration please contact Charlie Bowyer.

charlie.bowyer@agri-epicentre.com

“We’ve been involved in aquaculture innovation and new species development since 1968,” says Alastair Barge, Managing Director at OFS.

“For this initiative, we did market research to see what the sector needed to deliver sustainable solutions – R&D requires facilities, and most businesses can’t afford to run their own research stations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The MAIC comprises a series of replicated small and large land-based tanks, located indoors under programmable lighting.

“The tanks have water capacities of two cubic metres and 20m3, respectively. In the 12 smaller tanks we can test four different regimes or diets, in triplicate, as commonly required for scientific evaluation,” Mr Barge explains. “In the six larger tanks, we can rear salmon and other farmed species to near-harvest weight.”

The tanks have a water flow-through system, incorporating pre-treatment using sand filtration and UV sterilisation. They are fitted with particle separators to measure uneaten food and fish waste.

Eduardo Jimenez, OFS’s Research and Development Manager, says:

“Land-based tanks offer greater environmental control than cages or other sea-based growing systems, improving the reliability of trials data. Interference from environmental factors is minimised because we can control and replicate conditions like lighting, water exchange rate, and oxygen levels.”

And the first trials are already under way.

“At the moment we are running a benchmarking feed trial for a commercial client comparing three diets, to assess which is best in terms of fish growth and feed conversion efficiency.”

As well as helping to improve diets and treatments for farmed fish and shellfish, the MAIC is well suited for evaluating different strains of commercial farmed species and for developing rearing methods for up-and-coming species like seaweeds. It also provides a platform for validating new aquaculture technologies for counting and observing livestock and monitoring water quality.

“This is a great new resource supporting UK aquaculture innovation and we’re going to keep improving the facilities, bringing in new species and trials,” says Dr Jimenez.

Improving aquaculture sustainability is at the core of the partnership and the MAIC.

“I think this centre can be a model for innovation, all with a background of sustainability,” adds Mr Barge.

Lisa Williams, Director of Business Development at Agri-EPI, is excited about the range of R&D projects which the centre can help with.

“It’s one of a kind in the UK. The centre will facilitate a range of trial work that will enable us to really look at efficiencies within the sector. It also opens the opportunity to carry out near-market trials, as well as linking into the long-term sustainability of the sector and wider ecosystem within that supply chain.”

“The partnership is a perfect combination to drive forward change and is a valuable resource to aquaculture businesses that want to initiate and progress R&D projects. If any business is interested in undertaking a project, then we encourage them to get in touch.”

 

Newton Farm joins Agri-EPI farm network

Newton Farm in Brecon, Wales has joined the Agri-EPI Centre Satellite Farms network.

Owners Richard & Helen Roderick, along with their son Tudor, farm 850 acres including 200 acres they’ve recently rented and plan to farm regeneratively. The Roderick’s manage a diverse business, including an impressive outwintered herd of stabiliser cattle, a flock of 800 ewes, and an arable enterprise. The Roderick’s are passionate about a number of farming topics, including carbon sequestration, grassland management, and animal health.

Newton Farm has been a Farming Connect demonstration farm for several years, giving Agri-EPI a unique opportunity to work with the Welsh government and farmers across Wales to encourage innovation and share best practices further afield.

Richard and Helen’s vision is for Newton Farm to be a profitable mixed farm, which maximises the use of its own resources, while increasing biodiversity and conserving the wildlife and historical features of the farm. To achieve this, their strategy is to focus on sustainability, genetics, and maximizing the use of forage and root crops.

Their latest venture is to be the first Welsh farm to join our Agri-EPI Centre farms network to trial technology to improve farm efficiency, and we are thrilled to have them!

“We are delighted to welcome Newton Farm into our farm network and are looking forward to working with the Rodericks to pursue exciting new projects in the beef and sheep sectors” – Emily Laskin, Farms Technical Coordinator at Agri-EPI Centre

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.

Tag Archive for: sustainability

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