Unlocking Agricultural Innovation: Highlights from the Agri-TechE REAP Conference 2023
This year's Agri-TechE REAP Conference was truly inspiring, bringing together pioneers in Agri-Tech for an intimate and enthusiastic one-day event. The overarching theme? Tech that puts farmers first, focusing on real-world problem-solving and efficiency.
Farming Efficiency Takes Centre Stage
A resounding message from the event was the need for efficiency in UK agriculture, which has reached land and soil potential. As Gideon Henderson from DEFRA emphasised, "nutrients and genetics allowed the decoupling of land vs food production; now we need tech to go one step further."
Tech's Role in Decision Making
The conference underscored the crucial role of technology in decision making. John Barrett from Sentry highlighted that market volatility is driving the necessity for enhanced decision-making. This sentiment was echoed by David Exwood of the NFU, who showcased the value of tech in eradicating insecticides and slug pellets through accurate monitoring on his farm.
The Data Revolution in Agriculture
A common thread throughout the day was the untapped potential of data in agriculture. David Exwood also stated "we're not scratching the surface of the data we could be using to make us more accurate and efficient."
This call for a shift to data-driven solutions reverberated through each presentation. Although, from a YAGRO perspective, where we specialise in the cleaning, structuring and verification of farm data, there was room for emphasis on the importance of accurate data processing itself. Nevertheless, the many benefits of data-led decision making on display spoke well to the value and relevance of advanced data analytics.
Innovations Shaping Agriculture's Future
From Jim Bailey of PES Technology's portable soil monitoring kit to Barbara Correia's predictive technology for potato diseases, and Robyn Sand's innovative robotic solutions at Autopickr - the array of innovations on display was nothing short of stunning.
The emphasis on harnessing Earth observation technologies and real-time soil nutrient measurements showcased the industry's commitment to sustainability and efficiency.
Enthusiasm for Innovation
The enthusiasm of the day was palpable, with Tom Clarke saying "the industry needs carrots instead of sticks." The push for positive incentives and standardisation in carbon reporting echoed through the Farmer Insights Panel.
De-risking Through Digital Learning
In the closing remarks, Belinda Clarke of Agri-TechE succinctly captured the essence of the conference: "De-risk the physical world by learning in the digital world." The event highlighted not only the incredible advancements in Agri-Tech but also the collective hope and determination to leverage technology for a more efficient, sustainable, and innovative agricultural future.
With thanks to the team at Agri-TechE for organising this superb event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Luke Sayer joined our Marketing Team in March 2023. With a background in the Arable Trials sector and a First Degree in English, Luke is responsible for writing our articles and handling press relations. His journey in agriculture began in 2008, when he worked his first harvest. Over the next 15 years, Luke worked a dozen harvest seasons - becoming a full-time Arable Trials farmer from 2019 to 2023. He has farmed every type of cereal plus pulses and break crops, but specifically focused on developing better beta-glucan levels in Oat varieties. In his YAGRO articles, Luke emphasises the crucial role that data and technology play in modern agriculture. He believes that listening and responding to farm data is the surest way to increase sustainability and efficiency in this ever-evolving industry.