Posts

UK-China SmartFarm partnership takes next steps

Utilising UK technology in China

Agri-EPI Centre and one of China’s largest food companies, the Tianjin Food Group, have today signed a collaboration agreement to develop a smart farming project utilising UK technology in China to boost early disease detection and productivity monitoring in pigs.

The project, called “SmartFarm 1.5”, will involve Agri-EPI and UK companies RoboScientific, Greengage Lighting and Innovent Technology, working with pork producers for the Tianjin Food Group in north eastern China. It is being funded by Innovate UK from the UK and supported locally by the Tianjin Food Group.

China SmartFarm partners

China SmartFarm concept

The new project is a continuation of the SmartFarm concept developed in China by Agri-EPI Centre, which seeks to develop international collaboration to support efficient and sustainable approaches to farming and food production.

The first SmartFarm project looked at precision-based approaches to nitrogen application in wheat production. It ran successfully between 2018 and 19, co-sponsored by Innovate UK, led by Agri-EPI and involving UK companies SoilEssentials and RDS, with autonomous and measurement systems contribution from University of Strathclyde. The Chinese partner organisations were NERCITA, the National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technologies China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC).

Following the successful delivery of this inaugural project, Agri-EPI and the Tianjin Food Group agreed to explore further opportunities, resulting in today’s signing of an agreement at the 4th Tianjin World Intelligence Congress.

Agri-EPI Centre Chief Executive Dave Ross said:

“We are honoured to be taking China SmartFarm to the next level by working with the Tianjin Food Group to deliver this important project. China is the world’s

largest producer and consumer of pork and technology and to support better productivity and earlier disease detection has significant potential economic benefits. Agri-EPI is excited to be building relationships with a range of international partners, in China – as well as New Zealand and Paraguay – in delivering SmartFarm projects.”

Committee Secretary and Chairman of Tiajin Food Group Zhang Yong said:

“Agri-EPI Centre is an important part of UK Research and Innovation. It has the world’s leading level in precision agriculture, the application of engineering technology in the entire agricultural industry chain, and the application of agricultural robots. With the continuous development of 5G, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and other intelligent technologies, agriculture has entered the era of intelligence. Precision feeding, precise management, real-time disease monitoring, and automatic environmental adjustment are all improving the level of agricultural production. At this critical historical opportunity, we hope to co-operate sincerely with the British side, make full use of their respective advantages, jointly develop and demonstrate the promotion of smart agricultural technology, and contribute to the progress of global agricultural technology.”

Alasdair Hamilton, Head of the Science and Innovation Team at the British Embassy, Beijing said:

“Partnerships in agricultural technologies that support sustainable, environmentally friendly farming is a priority area for science and innovation cooperation between the UK and China. The production of sustainable food with a low carbon footprint is a global necessity. It is therefore a pleasure to see that the MOU between Agri-EPI and the Tianjin Food Company will deepen cooperation in data driven technologies that will improve how we farm and produce nutritious food.”

Ian Cox, Innovate UK’s Agri-Tech Centres Innovation Lead said:

“I am delighted that this SmartFarm 1.5 collaboration agreement has been signed today. It marks the next step for both countries working together under our prestigious Flagship Challenge to address the global challenges facing the agriculture and food sectors. This follows on from SmartFarm 1.0 an initiative that formed a key output of the UK China Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy’s Agri-Tech Flagship Challenge, and which was a direct result of an earlier MoU signed between CRTDC and Innovate UK in November 2016.”

The new SmartFarm 1.5 project builds on a long history of UK-China co-operation in agricultural research and innovation. The relationship was enhanced in 2017 with the signing of the UK-China Science Technology and Innovation Strategy. SmartFarm is a core part of one of the strategy’s major deliverables, the Agri-Tech Flagship Challenge.

Food security and increasing farmers’ income remain a primary importance in China’s agriculture and rural policies. Technology plays a key role in the government’s plan to achieve this, with more investment being directed at deploying large agri-tech research programmes and innovation systems.

China’s approach to agricultural innovation overlaps many of the UK’s priorities including those set out in the Industrial Strategy.

On June 30, join Agri-EPI Centre, in partnership with 8 Hours Ahead, for a webinar exploring agri-tech opportunities in China. For more and to register, visit: www.agri-epicentre.com/land-and-grow-the-agri-tech-china-opportunity.

For further information, please contact Jane Smernicki, Agri-EPI Centre Communications Manager on 0131 239 7030, 07985 691 765 or jane.smernicki@agri-epcentre.com.

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

 

5G no leafy country lane

Duncan Forbes, Manager of our South West Dairy Development Centre in Somerset has been blogging about this 5G Farm, as part of the 5G RuralFirst project. In his latest post he writes:

Rural 5G is no leafy country lane – it’s a data super highway set to put farming in the fast lane!

Sensors are go!

We’ve been busy at the Agri-EPI Centre’s South West Dairy Development Centre equipping our 180-strong herd with Afimilk Silent Herdsman sensors – a key element in our activities as one of the three 5G RuralFirst testbeds. The sensors are fitted to the cows’ collars to measure health parameters including rumination, eating, fertility and health.

As a cow steps into one of the robotic milkers, sensors recognise the animal, record her health and fertility status and know how much milk she is expected to give. The rapid growth in wearable technology, data analytics and automation has the potential to revolutionise how dairy cows are milked and cared for.

It’s important to acknowledge that amongst all this exciting tech, we must never lose sight of the two essential elements of any dairy farm – the cows and the people who care for them. As we develop new technology, we must ensure that the advances benefit one or both of these constants.

Technology such as the Afimilk sensors and robotic milkers are giving us more and more information about the animals which means we can keep an even closer eye on their health and welfare. That’s good from an animal welfare point of view but it is also important in an economic sense – farmers need to get a good return on their investment in order to keep on producing good, healthy food.

Why called a 5G farm?

The rapidly growing number of sensors in farming are generating huge quantities of data. The strong, consistent connectivity that 5G can provide will ensure farmers can get the most out of this data. While farming technology is being adopted at a very fast rate, at present most of that technology connects by one means or another to a PC in the farm office.

It then connects through to the internet which is notoriously slow in most rural areas. 5G offers an opportunity to bypass a series of those steps along the way with the potential to pick up data directly from the sensors on the cows, bypass any need for a PC on the farm, get the data onto the cloud, combine it with other relevant data and deliver management support information directly back to farm staff. This data “round trip” could take only milliseconds allowing staff to make instant, informed decisions about livestock welfare and management.

The 5G Rural First project is going to explore the benefits of achieving this massively accelerated connectivity from sensors such as the Afimilk Silent Herdsman and other emerging technology on the dairy farm.

Farmers have suffered from very poor connectivity which limits the amount of data that can be transmitted.  This hasn’t stopped the development of agricultural technology and the industry has found many clever ways to get around the issue, but imagine if we can remove those barriers by having a fantastic highway for data that is 5G – the potential is enormous to transform data into useful information that can help revolutionise the management of livestock and the productivity of UK farming.

————-

Source: 5GRuralFirst

Journal Sensors focusing on IoT for Precision Agriculture

Submissions are being invited to a special edition of the international journal Sensors, focusing on the ‘Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture”. The special issue of Sensors, a peer-reviewed open access journal on the science and technology of sensors and biosensors, will seek to capture the latest innovations relevant to the development and adoption of precision agriculture. The journal is being guest edited by academics at the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, which Agri-EPI Centre collaborates with.

Journal topics

Topics of interest for this journal include, but are not limited to, the following themes related to sensors:

  • Intelligent Sensing Technologies
  • Data Architectures and Management
  • Edge Computing
  • Network and Communications Technologies
  • IoT Platform Integration
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • Emerging Applications/Services and Cloud Analytics
  • Information Visualisation
  • Security, Privacy and Trust
  • Inter-Operability and Standards
  • Emerging Business Models

The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2019. 

For further information about this journal submission, click 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.

Project 5G RuralFirst results in whitepaper about high capacity rural 5G networks

5G RuralFirst is the UK’s most ambitious testbed for connectivity in rural areas, demonstrating 5G’s gamechanging potential and identifying practical use cases that will benefit businesses and communities right across the United Kingdom. Through its three testbeds in the Orkney Islands, Somerset, and Shropshire, 5G RuralFirst is identifying and exploring new business models and use cases for connectivity deployment in rural areas and showcasing the potential of 5G in rural environments.

Whitepaper

A recent whitepaper focuses specifically on the spectrum problem to be solved for high capacity rural 5G networks at 3.6 GHz and represents the views of the individual authors on the spectrum lessons that have emerged from the 5G RuralFirst project.

The importance of the 5G pioneer band 3.4-3.8 GHz to the rural community is examined in some detail. The case is made as to why a traditional approach to the release of 5G spectrum will leave rural Britain out in the cold in terms of the transformative benefits of 5G. Some alternative options are looked at and the conclusion is reached that the ‘market expansion model’ set out in the Government’s Future Telecommunications Infrastructure Report is the best option. Some use cases are presented that show opportunistic dynamic spectrum access offers more than enough bandwidth to meet the rural use cases but a small amount of anchor spectrum, to be lightly licenses on a first come first served basis, is essential to create viable investment conditions for the market expansion model.

The paper shows why an amount as little as 20 MHz is sufficient when coupled with opportunistic dynamic spectrum access rights. Such an amount is 5% of the 5G pioneer band at 3.6 GHz and would be a sound national investment likely to offer a good return from a more productive rural economy.

Download the full whitepaper >>

About 5G RuralFirst

The consortium comprises world-leading expertise from 29 partners from across the technology, broadcasting, academic, agricultural and public sectors, including Cisco, the University of Strathclyde, the BBC, the Agri-EPI Centre, Orkney Islands Council and Scottish Futures Trust. For more information, please visit www.5gruralfirst.org

Cisco and partners help address digital divide in UK with 5G for rural communities

UK government funded testbed, 5G RuralFirst, to help the UK take a leading position in 5G, enabling some of the UK’s disconnected, remote and rural communities to be the first to benefit from the technology 

London, UK – Autonomous tractors and farmland drones, digital tools for small businesses and radio to your phones. All of which present tremendous opportunity for industry and rural communities in the UK, yet they are hindered by one thing. Connectivity. More specifically, a lack of secure, reliable mobile connectivity.

Geographically, only 63% of the UK has mobile data coverage from all of the four main providers (Ofcom), yet recent research highlights that increased usage of digital technologies in rural communities represents tens of billions of pounds’ worth of opportunity for the UK economy. Still, today the business case for investment in connectivity crucial to make these digital technologies viable is challenged; it relies on outdated economic models for return on investment (ROI) that are unable to pre-empt the benefit of new technologies, whether for the nation or for business.

This is the challenge that 5G RuralFirst aims to help solve. It was announced by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as a co-innovation project between industry, government and academia as part of the recent 5G testbed and trial competition to help position the UK as a global leader in 5G. As such, it will explore the benefits of 5G for rural communities and industries like agriculture, broadcasting, and utilities. It will also look to address the barriers to, and build the business case for, investment in 5G rural deployment.

With Cisco as the named lead, and principal partner the University of Strathclyde, the network of 32 organisations includes some of the most innovative startups, tech leaders and academic institutions in the UK. The project will aim to create a complete end-to-end rural 5G testbed system for trials of new wireless and networking technologies, spectrum sharing, new applications and services; stimulating new business models, all with a focus on testing and demonstrating innovative approaches for ensuring that 5G connectivity is accessible and affordable in hard-to-reach rural areas.

Testbeds and trials for the project will primarily be based on the Orkney islands to the very north of Scotland, and the farmlands of Somerset and Shropshire. The locations will be linked to the distributed Cisco® 5G cloud platform at DataVita’s Tier III data centre facility near Glasgow and will collaborate with the wider 5G UK ecosystem with the University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC).

The project will look to support and inform the development of the UK’s 5G eco-system so that it is able to address the needs and aspirations of communities and businesses in rural locations in ways that 4G, 3G, and 2G have not been able to do.

Key use cases:

  • Broadcast radio delivered over 5G with the BBC – the BBC believes internet-based delivery will become increasingly important to broadcasting. It will use the 5G testbed on Orkney to trial the capabilities of 5G to deliver traditional radio and new forms of BBC audio content over these new technologies.
  • Smart farming in partnership with Agri-EPI Centre72% of the UK’s area is utilised for agricultural production, and the agri-food sector is an important contributor to UK GVA (over £112B per annum). The trial will help provide significant opportunities to transform UK agriculture into a smart, high-tech industry, through innovations in sensors & remote diagnostics, data collection, UAVs (drones), wider precision farming techniques and autonomous vehicles.
  • IoT in Utilities and Environment Management – Electrical utilities and energy providers (wind, wave and solar), water companies, environmental monitoring, oil and gas industries – all have requirements for both general reliable data communications alongside low bit-rate, but high reliability and high security data communications for IoT (internet of things) in very remote areas. This will be addressed via network slicing and network edge data aggregation for 5G networks, alongside coverage trials and investigation.
  • Dynamic Shared Spectrum development and trial – this potentially disruptive work led by the University of Strathclyde and others seeks to demonstrate the applicability of dynamic and shared spectrum technologies for 5G communications in rural areas, coupled with the deployment of low cost software-defined radio technologies, both with the intention of lowering the cost of future rural 5G communications deployment and presenting the opportunity for network self-provisioning.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said: “New technology has the potential to transform business and society and we’re determined nowhere in the UK will be left behind by a 5G future. These testbeds will show how our rural communities can harness the power of this revolution in connectivity, bringing benefits across agriculture, industry and wider society.”

Nick Chrissos, Director of Innovation, Cisco Europe said:

“The UK currently ranks 5th in the world when it comes to our readiness to embrace digital. We have the ambition, the innovative heritage and the expert ecosystems to shape the UK’s digital future, but to do so we have to address fundamental issues like making internet connectivity work for everyone. 5G RuralFirst looks to help close the digital divide in the UK. To uncover the opportunities and challenges faced in 5G deployment, and to ensure that it can do what other generations have yet to. It’s not only about implementing the right technology in the right way. It’s about designing networking technology intelligently from the very start. Giving careful consideration to critical issues like security; which becomes even more complex when you are connecting everything from drones to autonomous tractors.”

Professor Bob Stewart of the Centre for White Space Communication at the University of Strathclyde said:

“After a number of years trialling with TV White Space shared spectrum, we now see the very clear opportunity for future 5G mobile and wireless radios and networks to support and use shared and dynamic spectrum access technologies.  Working with innovative radio manufacturers and spectrum database providers we see very clear opportunity for shared spectrum to work effectively alongside the services and coverage from current licensed mobile spectrum and unlicensed (Wi-Fi) spectrum”

Dave Ross, CEO, Agri-EPI Centre said:

“As the UK centre for precision agriculture and engineering technology, we are delighted to be a strategic partner in 5G RuralFirst. The UK agricultural community is under pressure to produce more food, with less labour and less impact on the environment.  Drones, autonomous vehicles, robotics and remote sensing and diagnostics will significantly change how we farm in the UK, but this innovation will only be possible if network connectivity in our rural areas is dramatically improved. Through a series of trials conducted by our 6 SME Agri-Tech partners, 5G RuralFirst will prove what would be possible in our agricultural sector and we hope will lead the way for investment and development in rural network connectivity and associated Agri-Tech services.”

Kieran Clifton, Director, Distribution & Business Development, BBC said:

“The BBC is delighted to be part of the 5G RuralFirst project. We’re excited to be developing new ways to deliver both traditional radio and new forms of audio content around the UK and to help audiences get the best possible services in difficult to reach areas.”

Lead project partners

Logo BBC
University of Strathclyde

Press contact

Cisco
Amy Lucas
+44(0)7881918160
amylucas@cisco.com

Note about the network of partners

The partners in the project cover the core areas of (i) 5G Core Network and Cloud Services, (ii) 5G Access Technologies and Dynamic Spectrum Access (iii) Broadcast Application, (vi) Agriculture Technologies, (vi) Industrial IoT, and (vii) Community, Infrastructure and Services. For more information, please visit the press website of Cisco.

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.

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria