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AgriTech showcase event a triumphant success for Farm491

PUBLISHED: 10:39 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 01 May 2019

Farm491's 'AgriTech and the Future of British Farming’ event

Farm491's 'AgriTech and the Future of British Farming' event

Archant

More than 200 delegates descended on the Rural Innovation Centre at Harnhill for what has been praised a triumphant AgriTech showcase

Farm491, the AgriTech incubation hub at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), has been coordinating a series of events for its 'AgriTech Season', concluding with a hugely successful two day show case event, 'AgriTech and the Future of British Farming' on April 4 and 5. Attendees with a close connection to AgriTech participated in the event, all concerned with how new technologies can respond to specific farm challenges and agricultural sustainability.

Commercial tech showcases, industry debates and exciting on-farm demonstrations all formed part of the two day event as well as engagement from a host of Farm491 members such as LettUs Grow and Breedr, as well as external exhibitors such as Small Robot Company and Ice Robotics. The four interactive discussion groups created thought-provoking debates on the role of technology to affront current issues such as combating pesticide resistance, use and adding value to farm data, future livestock management and novel growing systems such as hydroponics. The sessions also sought to understand farmer views and expectations on current developments in AgriTech and delegates had the opportunity to discuss with enthusiastic and like-minded people while drawing on what the AgriTech exhibitors have to offer.

Sarah Carr, Farm491 Outreach and Co-organiser commented, “A core outcome from our discussion groups during the showcase was that we all need to stop working in silos and instead collaborate wherever we can. Ultimately there needs to be multidisciplinary knowledge exchange to benefit the agricultural industry. The showcase highlighted this with attendees visiting from all sectors, including farmers, agricultural engineers, agronomists, lawyers and those working in the food supply chain.”

On the first day the showcase area was full of attendees in the morning, all chatting to the exhibitors and making some good contacts. In addition to the interactive discussion groups on the first day, Miracle Tech did a demonstration in the sheep shed and were able to use their thermal imaging camera to highlight hot-spots in any lame sheep. The second day followed a similar format with discussion groups and exhibitor networking, with CASE IH running a tractor demo with some of their newest automated tractors.

Dr Karen Rial-Lovera, RAU Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering and Technology and Co-organiser, commented; “One of the biggest challenges is to understand the opportunities and benefits that new innovation and technologies can bring to the farm. The 2-day event brought together a range of people from the industry to share knowledge and insight on the essential role that new technologies has to play to improve and further promote profitability, productivity and environmental protection in agriculture.”

Flo Giles, a final year studying BSc Agriculture (hons), attended the two-day event and commented on how it benefited her; “I thoroughly enjoyed the two-day showcase. I wasn't aware of how much technology there is coming forward and already present in the agricultural industry. It was an eye opener and needs to be encouraged more within the industry. I have managed to incorporate some of the information in one of my final year subjects at the Royal Agricultural University.”

Dr Karen Rial-Lovera, concluded; “This collaborative event between the RAU and Farm491 shows the commitment to achieve a successful exchange of ideas and transfer of technologies. From robots and drones, data management and analytic software, thermal cameras and movement sensors to aeroponics - these innovations showed at the event are making an incredible contribution to our fast-changing industry.”

Visit the Farm491 website here.

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