“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but foresight is better” – William Blake
There are so many variables in agriculture at many levels, with profitability impacted by everything from the nutrients in the soil through to extreme weather events. Some factors are controllable, many are not, but informed decisions can mitigate risk – and the digital world is facilitating this.
Agri-TechE’s REAP conference is an opportunity to review how the meeting of real and virtual worlds is creating a new generation of technologies that are ‘making sense of agriculture’ and that can provide the intelligence needed to take the best action on-farm.
We have already seen the massive impact of GPS on farm automation, of remote sensing and monitoring on precision agriculture, and of connectivity on supply-chain logistics. We are now entering the next phase of on-farm digital technology, in which the virtual world of modelling, forecasting and scenario planning will play a greater part.
From yield mapping and precision livestock through to digital twins and cloud computing, at REAP 2022 we explored the technology and looking at the implications from a field to landscape level.
Keynote session: The transformation of agri-food value chains – Elizabeth Fastiggi, Worldwide Lead of Agriculture Business at Amazon Web Services (AWS), gave her perspectives on the digital revolution, saying: “Our objective is to enable the entire industry to use data to deliver insights and improve outcomes.” She described how customers large and small are using AWS tool kits and cloud computing infrastructure to harness data, develop more efficient machinery, and use machine learning and AI for improved decision support.
Highlights of REAP included:
- Leveraging the virtual world to make sense of agriculture – panel discussion facilitated by Anna Hill, best known as a presenter for BBC Farming Today.
- Enabling farm-centric technology – arable, livestock and fruit farmers reviewed the discussions of the day and the implications for their farms.
- Start-Up Showcase – a first chance to see exciting early-stage companies.
- Game-changing science – top researchers shared their perspectives on emerging agri-tech and how it will shape the future of agriculture.
- International horizons – Agri-TechE is the partner of choice for many agri-tech clusters worldwide; a number joined us to bring a global viewpoint to the networking reception.
A notable feature of REAP is the technology demonstrations and networking opportunities. By bringing together all elements of the agri-tech ecosystem the conference creates a collaborative environment for stimulating innovation.