Technology key to unlocking farming potential
Technological innovation is the key to unlocking the potential of farming by improving productivity and tackling problems such as pests and disease, Farming Minister, George Eustice, said today.
Illustrating the point, the minister drew attention to a group of 40 farmers in Sheffield who are trialling a self-driving “agribot” to help manage hilly moorland grazing for sheep and cattle. The device is based on a bomb disposal robot and uses on-board sensors and cameras, coupled with information from Ordnance Survey maps and satellite images, to identify and remove weeds on tricky terrain.
Elsewhere in Yorkshire, a consortium including the Scotch Whisky Research Institute and United Biscuits is using scientific know-how to identify quality characteristics in soft (gluten-low) wheat in a bid to develop new, higher-quality UK varieties for use in our biscuit and whisky-making.
In addition to these Agri-Tech Catalyst projects run by Innovate UK, a joint venture between Defra and Capita has resulted in the launch of Fera Science Limited which aims to play a significant role in helping to drive growth in the agri-food industry.