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Tesco Sustainable Agriculture Manager to join the discussions at REAP

Agri-TechE Article

Peter Illman, Sustainable Agriculture Manager at Tesco, is supportive of agri-tech innovation. He is responsible for the flagship Tesco Agri T-Jam pitch event, which announced this year’s winner NatureMetrics on 15th September, and he has led the UK’s largest-ever commercial rollout of low-carbon fertiliser, which has won high praise from the industry.

Tesco part of Supply Chain panel at REAP 2023

Peter will be joining Andy Griffiths, Head of Sustainable Procurement at Diageo, and Naomi Pendleton, Group Sustainability Director at AM Fresh, for the Supply Chain Panel at Agri-TechE’s REAP conference. He will discuss the approaches that the retailer is adopting to improve resilience across the industry.

Sustainable supply chains

Tesco has made a commitment to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket by 2030.

Peter comments: “Part of our responsibility to consumers is that by adapting, learning and investing, we aim to guarantee both a secure supply of affordable, fresh food, and a healthy, thriving food system.

“We have seen many exciting, innovative companies coming through the Tesco Agri T-Jam, but they need practical support in order to scale; co-development with early adopters is an important element of this.”

Peter takes responsibility for delivery of the sustainable agriculture strategy within fresh produce, working with key stakeholders to deliver net zero, manage pesticides across its global supply base and deliver Tesco’s commitment to LEAF and nature.

Peter Illman
Peter Illman, Sustainable Agriculture Manager at Tesco

Low carbon fertiliser trial with farmers

To support this the company has recently announced that it will extend its trial of eight market-ready low-carbon fertilisers manufactured from food waste, chicken litter and algae.

The aim was to determine the most eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives to conventional fertiliser.

During the first year of the trial, five suppliers cultivated 1,300 hectares of land using different fertilisers, producing 70,000 tonnes of fresh produce – including lettuces, carrots, and potatoes.

Initial results found the alternatives were just as effective as conventional fertilisers while slashing emissions by up to 50%, with no extra cost to farmers.

Peter is keen to gain the input from farmers, researchers and technologists at REAP.

NatureMetrics winner of 2023 Tesco Agri T-Jam

This year’s Tesco Agri T-Jam pitch event was dominated by innovations which can contribute to Tesco’s aim of building more sustainable supply chains.

NatureMetrics won the 2023 Tesco Agri T-Jam Competition, securing fast-track introductions to the Tesco supplier network, a trial with one of the retailer’s supply chain partners and membership of Agri-TechE.

NatureMetrics won the competition for its innovative solution which measures biodiversity using eDNA analysis of soil, water, and insects. The innovation converts this complex data into simple metrics which can be viewed through its Nature Intelligence Platform, allowing users to comprehensively report on biodiversity improvement in their supply chain.

Companies from the Agri-TechE ecosystem that have previously featured in the T-Jam include:

Francisco Norris of Zelp at REAP 2019
Francisco Norris of Zelp at REAP 2019

The other 2023 Tesco Agri T-Jam finalists were:

Viridian (Angus Middleton) plans the sustainable use of land, using high-tech data modelling to calculate how landscapes are functioning, and then designing ways to manage the whole landscape system to solve local problems.

Flexifarm (from Diometer) (Kevin Gooding) is a cloud-based data integration SaaS platform for farms integrating with 3rd party hardware, software and data with advanced features and analytics. It aims to increase farm productivity, health and safety, and remote systems management.

Map of Ag (Joe Towers) created the “What If” Tool to optimise dairy farming operations and lower emissions by analysing factors like feed types and manure management. The tool offers farmers a customised analysis platform where they can use sliding scales to see their impact.

Bloomfield (Mark DeSantis) provides plant digitisation, providing automated, direct line-of-site pixel-level insection of harvests. Using imaging and AI, the technology allows growers to assess the health and performance of each and every plant, regardless of plant type, location or number.

Laguzze (Laurent Vigouelle) is a fertiliser made from seawater that provides more than 60 trace elements. The fertiliser acts as a natural repellent against all types of insects and pests and offers a significant reduction in fungal diseases.

Yard Stick PBC (Chris Tolles) measures soil carbon, making it possible to quantify carbon stocks on more land and allow more growers to increase their knowledge of their land. The technology is designed for field evaluation of soil carbon stocks and changes.

SMAPPLAB (Donat Posta) provides insect infestation monitoring and forecasting, using AI image recognition to provide actionable insights to growers. The platform offers a simple hectare-based subscription model to increase sustainability and profitability.

Protiomix Ltd (Stephan Jaffe) utilises waste streams generated by food and beverage sectors, converting this into an environmentally sustainable quality, carbon-negative feed and pet food production process.

Sunamp (Ana Amaral) offers a low-carbon solution that can reduce operational costs by running chillers during off-peak time to store energy to be used during peak time. This increases resilience for suppliers by not fully depending on the grid operation.

REAP 2023 logo

REAP Conference 2023:
Adaptation Through Innovation; Beyond the Comfort Zone

Wednesday 8th November, 9:30 am – 6:30 pm
Rowley Mile Conference Centre, Newmarket

Surviving and thriving under increasingly extreme and unpredictable challenges is the theme of the 2023 REAP conference. To build a productive, profitable and sustainable agri-food industry, we must move away from the comfort zone and become open to the new opportunities that exist when we ‘stretch’. Be a part of that future – bring yourself and your ideas to REAP.

Ag-drive app wins two awards at LAMMA 2023

Member News

This content is hosted by Agri-TechE as part of its service to its members. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual/organisation that supplied the content and not those of Agri-TechE or its employees. This content is hosted by Agri-TechE as part of its service to its members. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual/organisation that supplied the content and not those of Agri-TechE or its employees. Ag-drive, the app that helps agricultural contractors and farmers to manage their businesses more efficiently, has won gold in the digital category of the LAMMA Innovation Awards 2023, and the LAMMA Founders Trophy for the best overall innovation at the Show.

The increasingly popular app, developed by farmer and contractor Will Dunn, is used by businesses of all sizes who want to replace time-consuming paperwork with digital job records, timesheets, field mapping, health and safety checks, and integrated invoicing with common accounting software.

Ag-drive founder, Will Dunn, says “Ag-drive makes every job accountable and traceable. Input and labour costs are increasing year on year, so having a quick and simple way to track and record jobs, and invoice regularly, means businesses can better manage their cash flow and even increase income through more efficient and accurate invoicing.

“We are delighted to have won gold in the LAMMA Innovation Awards. Since we launched the Ag-drive app we have committed to continually improving the platform, and have regularly introduced new and improved features thanks to customer feedback.

“In the past six months we improved job recording features for multiple operators, invoice approval on the app, and added more accounting package integrations. Ag-drive can now be used with Quickbooks, Sage, and Xero.

“We have a vast range of businesses using the app across the world, from farms of all sizes to large and small contractors, and non-farm businesses who find the app’s job recording and integrated invoicing features ideal for their needs.”

The Ag-drive app is available on both iPhone and Android smartphones and has been designed for simplicity to support all users. A web version is also available and is mainly used for invoicing and processing time/job sheet information.

A free 14-day trial gives users the ability to try all the features before committing to a monthly subscription from £10 per month, depending on the size of their team. New subscribers get their first month free with discount code JAN23.

Visit Ag-drive at LAMMA, Hall 20, Stand 20.360.

Agri-TechE Director awarded prestigious Fellowship of The Royal Agricultural Societies

Agri-TechE Article

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, has been awarded Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS) in a ceremony at the House of Lords on Tuesday 11th October, hosted by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

Dr Belinda Clarke House of Lords
Dr Belinda Clarke received her award at the House of Lords

The Awards are a celebration by recognition of the remarkable personal achievements and contribution of individuals to the many sectors of the food and farming industry.

This contribution to UK agricultural progress may include supporting innovation and excellence, furthering research, advancing technology, or holding voluntary roles which underpin the sector.

Nick Green, Chairman to the English Panel, said: “Today 26 people from across England have collected the prestigious Associate or Fellowship award, all of whom have been recognised by their peers. We are delighted to highlight individual personal achievement in such a historical setting. As an apolitical organisation, we feel that our membership can really lead the industry.”

There are two categories: Associateship (ARAgS) and Fellowship (FRAgS), the senior award. Candidates are commended by existing fellows and then invited to the national panel to make a submission in support of their application.

Belinda’s commendation was for facilitating links between farmers and the innovation ecosystem, and was supported by the late Caroline Drummond MBE and John Shropshire OBE.

She comments: “I feel very honoured to receive this award and thank John Shropshire and Caroline Drummond, who is sadly no longer with us, for their support and encouragement.

Also awarded an Associateship of the Royal Agricultural Societies at the ceremony was Jake Freestone of Overbury Farms, who is part of Agri-Tech E’s Farmer First Innovation Group (FFIG).

Innovation ecosystem

There will be an opportunity to find out more about the agri-tech innovation ecosystem at the REAP Conference ‘Making Sense of Agriculture’ on Tuesday 8th November 2022. It will feature a Farmer Breakfast for invited guests and a panel of farmers discussing the latest technologies and their potential for farm practice.

REAP 2022 Making Sense of Agriculture real and digital worldsREAP 2022: ‘Making Sense of Agriculture’ – Tuesday 8th November 2022

From yield mapping and precision livestock through to digital twins and cloud computing, at REAP 2022 we will be exploring the technology and looking at the implications from a field to landscape level. Making technology farm-centric is core to Agri-TechE’s mission so a key feature of the conference will be a panel of farmers and producers discussing the emerging technologies and future scenarios.