The programme of exciting events for Agri-Tech Week, 9-13 November, is shaping up and the range and diversity demonstrates clearly how the cluster has grown over the last year.
The week starts at Rothamsted Research with the event “Big Data – what’s in it for farmers?”, which will introduce the new AgriMetrics Centre”. The new centre will provide a single portal to all of the publicly available and pre-competitive industry data relevant to the whole food system, drawn from datasets from around the world. Using this data to develop meaningful metrics for sustainability will be an important element of its work. There will be an opportunity to find out more about the services the centre offers in a workshop session. Click here to book your place.
Beer and robots
On Tuesday there are two events. One at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, University of Lincoln, will be looking at a range of emerging technologies, including those aimed at automating harvesting of salad crops and improving post-harvest storage. Book your place here.
The second is ‘The Business Case for Innovation’ in Suffolk at the home of Muntons, in association with FramFarmers. Muntons is a leading global player in the supply of malts, malt extracts, flours and flakes etc and at this event will be looking at how to embed innovation and new thinking about R&D and sustainability into a business .
The visit will include a site tour. Muntons has a centre of excellence, a purpose built facility that provides space and technology for innovation and product development in malt and malted ingredients and retail products.
The company also has a thriving home-brew product. There will be discussions about the new anaerobic digestion facility and perhaps even a taster or two…
Places for this event are limited so make sure to register your interest for the chance to attend.
On Wednesday is the Agri-Tech East annual conference: REAP 2015 (Realising our Economic and Agricultural Potential). The theme this year is “Resilience Through Innovation”. We have an excellent line-up of speakers which includes Sue Lockhart, Head of Agriculture at Sainsbury’s, Prof. Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive of BBSRC and Meurig Raymond, President of the National Farmers’ Union.
There will also be a “Producers’ Panel” of leading farmers to give a grassroots view of the needs of growers and a panel of technologists to respond to them.
Also at REAP there will be a Start-Up Showcase where early-stage businesses give an ‘elevator pitch’ to potential partners and investors.
Moving on to Thursday, we have the RNAA Thought Leadership Lecture hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, with guest speaker Lord Haskins of Skidby (former Chairman of Northern Foods and Express Dairies), together with a networking session from the John Innes Centre which aims to give farmers the answer to the question “who do I talk to in science?” and will present a number of interactive exhibits showcasing JIC research. Find out more here.
Then rounding off the week will be the official opening of the NIAB AgriGate Research Hub. Located in the heart of the Fens, it provides a facility for collaborative research aimed at reducing waste in the food supply chain and improving production efficiency. The hub supports technology transfer by housing both pilot and field scale research projects, with research ranging from soil health; field vegetable crop establishment; crop health; best practice for agronomy and rotation, right through to harvesting, post-harvest storage, processing and packaging.
This by-invitation-only event will provide an opportunity to see the facilities and discuss potential research projects. Click here to register your interest.