“We have seen real benefits with many of the technologies we’ve adopted, ” says Andrew Francis farm manager of Elveden Estates. He is one of the farmers on the Producers’ Panel at REAP (11 November) talking openly about the benefits and limitations of the technologies they have deployed, providing an excellence overview of the issues facing this complex industry.
Francis thinks that extracting better information from data to support on-farm decision making is where the future of farming should be heading.
“Vision guidance laser and hoes have increased the speed of weeding, along with a massive reduction in labour costs,” he continues.
“Flying drones give another dimension to crop monitoring – being able to access soil quality and check on crop growth from my office is a fantastic development.”
The 10,000 acre Elveden Estate grows vegetables including potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips and cereals such as rye, barley and wheat. It sells its produce to McCains, Pepsico, and Sainsbury’s and has its own potato brand. Elevden is part of the LEAF network and promotes environmentally responsible farming.
The Producers’ Panel, supported by Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise (RoCRE), is followed by a panel of technologists who will respond to the points raised by the farmers and also discuss the new technologies on the horizon.