RAU students see latest AgriTech innovations at Future of British Farming event

25 Apr 2019

Robotics and data analysis were just some of the future farming technologies on show at the Royal Agricultural University’s (RAU) two-day AgriTech event.

Organised with Farm491 (the University’s incubator for AgriTech innovation) and hosted at the Rural Innovation Centre, the event explored how emerging technology can meet on-farm challenges and shape the future.

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.”

A broad range of innovations making contributions to the fast-changing agricultural industry were featured including robots and drones; data management and analytical software; thermal cameras and movement sensors; and aeroponics.

Dr Karen Rial-Lovera, lecturer in Agricultural Engineering and Technology at the RAU said: “One of the biggest challenges in the sector is to understand the opportunities and benefits that new innovations can bring to the farm. The two day event brought together over 200 people from a range of industries to share knowledge and insight on the essential role that new technologies have to play to improve and further promote profitability, productivity and environmental protection in agriculture.”

The event also promoted new developments in tractor automation with Case IH showcasing their newest technologies. This further expands on the RAU’s current collaboration with Case IH to train six Angolan students in partnership with Unitel.

Andre Sinela – studying the Graduate Diploma in Agriculture as part of a partnership between the RAU and Angolan telecommunications company UNITEL –  said: “Personally I think the event was educational due to the demonstration of advanced technologies’ integration into existing farming practices in order to increase production efficiency ecologically. Representatives of internationally renowned companies as well as experts from the RAU showed the current AgriTech advances such as soil sensors, drones, robotics and Real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning, a satellite navigation technique used to enhance GPS accuracy.

“Events like this one allow RAU students from different parts of the world and the general public to have direct contact with new devices whose function is usually only learned theoretically in some modules or from other information sources. I strongly recommend that this event should be expanded to integrate with more companies because there is still lots of AgriTech innovation to be displayed.”

Many other RAU students also came along to explore what AgriTech has to offer. Florence Giles, a final year student on the BSc Agriculture course, said: “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.”

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