3D printing for custom chemicals, aquaponics, sentinel plants, remote sensing, Internet of Things, prescription farming – were all identified as Game Changing Technologies in Agriculture in a think piece by Riaz Bhunnoo, Head of Global Food Security following a workshop hosted by his organisation earlier this year.
Interestingly all these technology areas are already being developed by organisations within the Agri-Tech cluster and have featured in recent Agri-Tech East Pollinator events; demonstrating how attending Agri-Tech East events brings you closer to the people that are pushing back the boundaries.
Aquaponics combines growing plants in soil without water with fish farming – Aponic has developed a system to do just this and is attracting international interest, the company were finalists in GROW, the UK’s first Agri-Tech business plan competition.
Sentinel plants – these are plants that give early warning of environmental threat such as disease. Dr Mike Birkett from Rothamsted Research discussed the science behind companion planting at the first Remote Sensing and Monitoring Special Interest Group meeting. He said: “Early onset of pest damage in crop plants is accompanied by production and emission of volatile organic compounds, even before normal and recognisable symptoms appear. This phenomenon can be exploited in portable detection systems to determine the health of the crop. Better understanding of the chemicals produced, or biomarkers as they are called, provides a terrific opportunity to develop new smart crop protection strategies.
“This SIG being launched by Agri-Tech East provides just the right platform to foster new collaborations in pursuit of that goal.”
Remote Sensing – Farmer’s son Max Bruner, CEO of Mavrx, is one of Agri-Tech East’s international members. He spoke about the adoption of remote sensing for agriculture at a Pollinator meeting. He said : “America, as you know, is a very large country but our company covers the entire US corn, wheat and soya bean industry, which spans 18 states. To do this we use an ‘Uber’ based model to provide coverage. A farmer requests our services and we get the nearest of our light aircraft pilots to fly over their fields to take images.”
Internet of Things – This is an expression coined first by the founder of Cambridge company RedBite, who were one of the companies involved in the Pollinator meeting ‘The Internet of (agri) things’ which was presented by ARM and Microsoft, two companies at the cutting edge of this technology.
Prescription farming – was discussed by Michael Lee of Syngenta Ventures, who gave a keynote at GROW, he identified this as part of the disruptive technologies that are set to be game changers in agriculture
Game Changing Technologies in Agriculture
The report can be read here game-changing-technologies-agriculture
Disruptive technology is to be discussed by inspirational speakers at the REAP conference on Wednesday 9th November and offers the opportunity to meet and exchange views with farmers and growers that are implementing new approaches and with the scientists and technologists that are working with them to translate the latest advances into robust solutions.
More information about REAP.