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Royal Norfolk Show 2024 – Innovation Hub

Agri-TechE

RNS Innovation Hub 2024 – Expression of interest form

The Innovation Hub at the Royal Norfolk Show is a platform for showcasing new farming practices, technologies, and emerging agri-tech. Agri-TechE members have the opportunity to connect with farmers, businesses, and the public, presenting their innovations and enhancing the visibility of agri-tech. The RNS Innovation Hub is curated by Agri-TechE, and the RNS charges a modest admin fee (under £100) to cover their costs. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the expression of interest form below or email us at info@agri-tech-e.co.uk if you have any questions.

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BBRO showcases novel spore detectors

Meet the Network
Agri-TechE

The British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) is pleased to be sponsoring the Royal Norfolk Show’s Innovation hub again this year. They will also be showcasing their own innovation in the way of some rather special monitoring stations and novel spore detectors that are currently in action across the sugar beet growing region.

Data is key in any research project, but for agricultural organisations such as the BBRO, the collection of robust in-field data is often thwarted by weather conditions. Certain foliar diseases and pests may prove a major headache to the sugar beet industry one year, but then not seen again for years. For this reason, BBRO is developing new tools to monitor actual in-field environments alongside the early detection of pests and spores to ascertain how the two correlate.

Dr Alistair Wright is leading this work, utilising knowledge gained from travels in America and Canada where diseases such as Cercospora leaf spot are having a major impact.

Dr Alistair Wright

Novel spore detectors

Alistair explains: “One of the most striking features of our monitoring sites is the ‘Spornado’ spore collector. It’s a 3D printed vacuum system, powered by solar that literally hoovers the air for small particles which are collected on a fine mesh for lab analysis.

“At the moment we are looking for Cercospora spores but as we develop the technology and our capabilities, we will be able to identify many other fungal spores, and maybe even pests, to provide an invaluable early detection system for sugar beet growers.

“Whilst understanding the presence and level of spores is important, we also need to define the weather conditions required to cause infection and have therefore introduced a network of Sencrop weather stations on each site. These collect general weather info to determine, rainfall, temperature and humidity levels but also incorporate a leaf sensor that is hidden in the crop to ascertain the actual conditions within the crop canopy.

“By monitoring spores and changing weather conditions we hope to be able to predict the potential level of disease pressure and therefore take action before disease development.”

Spornado at Fincham

Defence against virus yellows

“There are 12 of these special monitoring sites which also form part of the BBRO wider yellow water pan network, monitoring the presence of aphids (particularly Myzus persicae a carrier of Virus yellows),” Alistair continues. Further Information relating to the aphid survey is available on the BBRO.

“We have also added several moth pheromone traps to monitor the presence of the Beet moth that caused major destruction to areas of the crop in 2022, particularly in the Bury area.

“Data from all sites will be collected twice a week for at least 12 weeks, which is a huge commitment from those involved. We are indebted to BBRO staff, our partners and supporters for their help in delivering this project.”

More information about BBRO


BBRO is sponsoring the Innovation Hub at the 2023 Royal Norfolk Show.
Read more about the 2023 Innovation Hub >>

Innovation Hub 2023

2023 Innovation Hub

Agri-TechE Article
Agri-TechE

The Royal Norfolk Show will take place on Wednesday 28 – Thursday 29 June 2023 at Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 0TT.

Tickets are on sale now.

The Royal Norfolk Show was established to showcase new farming practices and technologies, with the 2023 Innovation Hub showcasing emerging agri-tech, allowing Agri-TechE members to engage with farmers, business and the public sharing their innovations and raising the profile of agri-tech.

The Royal Norfolk Show 2023 Innovation Hub, curated by Agri-TechE and sponsored by BBRO, is looking at technologies that can detect issues (crop stress, disease risk, performance) sooner, and use resources (heat, light, water) more efficiently, to reduce waste, increase resilience and optimise productivity in food production.

Some of the exhibitors include:

2023 Innovation Hub

Manage plant stress and performance – Gardin

Gardin’s technology provides an early indication of plant stress by measuring the photosynthetic performance of the plant, growing in a vertical farm or greenhouse. The system uses a robotic sensor to monitor the crop in real time.

Gardin will be discussing how the system provides growers with insights into plant health that can easily be actioned, improving yields and quality, and lowering costs.

Read more.

Early alert of disease for arable crops – Fotenix

Fotenix uses a patented spectral camera and light setup to provide early warning of disease in oilseed rape (OSR) and wheat crops. The monitor can be mounted on a tractor or robot, enabling early detection and intervention before significant losses.

The system has been shown to be capable of detecting light leaf spot and phoma in OSR and septoria in wheat in days, compared to months by traditional methods. Through continuous monitoring it can also provide evidence of disease control or re-emergence post-application.

Fotenix is currently looking for more partners to trial its system or integrate it within existing machinery across plot trials and horticulture.

Read more.

Protect sheep with tracking tech – Movetech Telemetry / UEA

No more lost sheep with lightweight, low-cost devices developed by Movetech Telemetry. Originally developed for tracking birds, the devices provide information on livestock movement, alerting farmers to any changes in behaviour, which can indicate theft, disease, or loss.

Sensors and monitors for sugar beet – BBRO

Sugar beet is an important crop and innovation at BBRO is enabling farmers to reduce reliance on plant protection products. Trials include in-field spore detection units, crop sensors for humidity levels at crop leaf stage, carbon sequestration and pheromone traps for monitoring specific moths. It will showcase how it monitors in-field activity and shares that with growers.

Read more about BBRO’s work with novel spore detectors.

MoveTech in the 2023 Innovation Hub

Pick the winners by profiling a leaf – LGC Genomics

10 percent of raspberry plants produce yellow fruits that are not commercially acceptable, but it can take years to identify those plants. With LGC Genomics’ technology, farmers and breeders can analyse the leaves to determine the genotype and find out quickly which plants have markers for yellow fruit.

LGC Genomics will also enable farmers to determine which of their varieties have the greatest resilience to local conditions and to accelerate breeding programmes.

Read more.

Deep Geothermal energy offers decarbonising solution – CeraPhi Energy

CeraPhi Energy specialises in Deep Geothermal heat exchange technology. It is the leading company in this field, and the first to offer an end-to-end solution from securing finance to full development and energy production.

Unlike solar or wind power, which is variable, geothermal energy can be harnessed consistently, 24/7 for heating, cooling and power. This sustainable energy solution could enable UK farming to become import independent within ten years. The development of a new heat network for agriculture is supported by the Environment Agency and is part of the BEIS British Energy Industrial Strategy.

CeraPhi Energy will be discussing how generating clean energy from land wells offers a business opportunity for farmers.

Read more.

Lights, microgreens and mushrooms – Kroptek

Kroptek provides all-round support from bespoke, quality LED grow lights to complete solutions. All fully customisable and tailored to the crop and environment to ensure cost-effective, optimal growing conditions.

Kroptek has developed systems for mushrooms and microgreens. Mushroom farm La Boite A Champignon, based in Paris, supplies ‘grow at home’ boxes for consumers, and Wesh Grow produces hyper-local, high-end produce in urban controlled environments.

Maximise space and yield with lower CapEx and OpEx – GrowPura

GrowPura has developed the world’s first automated, moving conveyor system for vertical farming that operates in a patented ‘Clean Room’ environment.

The GrowPura® technology maximises the use of space and reduces input costs. Plants receive the optimum light for growth and as 95% of the water used is recycled, it uses a fraction of the water required for field irrigated crops with no runoff.

Read more about GrowPura’s automated, moving conveyor system for vertical farming.

next generation vertical farm technology

Save the spud from more sprays – The Sainsbury Laboratory

Withdrawal of chemical fungicides has put pressure on the potato industry as late blight disease continues to threaten crops. Some wild varieties of potato are resistant to blight but don’t have the same eating qualities as the popular Maris Piper.Work by the Jonathan Jones’ group at The Sainsbury Laboratory has provided Maris Piper with blight resistance genes from their wild relatives to create PiperPlus. This game changing variety is resistant to late blight which greatly reduces the need for chemicals, plus it has traits that will make it easier to store without losing product quality.

Exciting developments in this field continue, potentially enabling the growth of seed potatoes in warmer climates and allowing England to produce its own seed potatoes. Disease-resistant traits will also be conferred to other valued potato varieties in the UK, including Charlotte – the home grower’s favourite – and Hermes, which is important for making crisps.

More about work at the Sainsbury Laboratory.

Exploring agricultural opportunities through space-tech – Space East

Increasingly satellite-enabled technologies are being used to advance farming practices. Satellite navigation systems can steer tractors and direct precision application of fertiliser, whilst earth observation data provides agricultural intelligence to map plant and soil health. The growing potential and value of these technologies is vast and a focus for Space East, the UK’s newest space cluster, bringing together leaders from across the East of England to develop and champion exciting new opportunities in space technology. 

More about Space East.

Paludiculture – innovation for lowland peat – NIAB

NIAB will be highlighting the challenges in lowland peat landscapes (balancing productivity, CO2 emissions and biodiversity); defining and demonstrating what paludiculture is and how its sustainable products could become part of our everyday lives in the future.

Read more.

Paludiculture

At the Innovation Hub – tech for soil health, automation, IPM and smart water management

Agri-TechE Article
Agri-TechE

It was great to be back in person for Royal Norfolk Show Innovation Hub 2022, with a diverse range of stands featuring technologies aimed at input management, soils improvement, automation, and on-farm safety solutions.

The Innovation Hub provides a place for technologists, businesses and policy-makers to come together to network and be inspired by the latest new developments.

The President of the 2022 Show, Lord Cholmondley, lent his name to our “Time for Tech” which was a focal point for a number of VIP visits to the Hub, including a Parliamentary Under-Secretary, an Ambassadorial delegation from the Netherlands, University Vice Chancellors, and past, present and future Show Presidents.

The Presidents’ Time for Tech provided an opportunity to welcome visitors from the Netherlands and Jo Churchill MP to the Innovation Hub. In the photograph from left to right: Karel van Oosterom (Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Dr Belinda Clarke (Director of Agri-TechE), Philip de Jong (Agricultural Counsellor for the UK and Ireland), Jo Churchill MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Defra) and Andrew Wood (Honorary Dutch Consul for the East of England)
The Presidents’ Time for Tech provided an opportunity to welcome visitors from the Netherlands and Jo Churchill MP to the Innovation Hub. In the photograph from left to right: Karel van Oosterom (Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Dr Belinda Clarke (Director of Agri-TechE), Philip de Jong (Agricultural Counsellor for the UK and Ireland), Jo Churchill MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Defra) and Andrew Wood (Honorary Dutch Consul for the East of England)

Technology to improve agricultural productivity while promoting healthy ecosystems

Soil nutrient management – NIAB

Soil nutrient management is an approach that aims to more closely match nutrient inputs, such as fertilisers and organic manures, to crop demand at different stages of its lifecycle. Applying excessive nutrients, or those that are not ‘bio-available’, are a wasted resource. NIAB discussed technology to support soil nutrient management.

Long-term trials by NIAB show that soil health can be improved by closely matching crop demand to nutrient inputs.

Boosting plant performance and controlling disease – PfBio

PfBio is using naturally occurring and beneficial soil bacteria to suppress plant diseases. This type of ‘biocontrol’ is achieved by identifying varieties of the bacteria Pseudomonas that associates with a particular crop and boosting its presence, so it outcompetes the pathogen. Pseudomonas can also have other benefits, it stimulate the plant immune system as well as promoting plant growth, which increases both health and yield.

Lord Cholmondeley, President of the Norfolk Show, discusses biocontrol with PFBio

Cereal camo-cropping for sugar beet – BBRO

BBRO are discussing some alternative approaches to pest management.

The first is cereal camo-cropping; the theory is that growing a cereal crop in with the sugar beet helps to obscure it by reducing the soil-plant contrast which aphids use to locate sugar beet.

The other approach is to use food dyes to change the ground colour and hide the emerging beet.

Innovation Hub 2022 BBRO
Natural predators and camouflage to reduce use of pesticides on BBRO stand

Smart energy management and automation – Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric provides smart energy management and automation systems across a range of industries including agri-food. Louise Liddiard, the Segment Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric, explains that the company aims to make it easier for vertical farmers to adopt smarter machines and to become better connected, more flexible, more efficient and more sustainable.

The team at Schneider Electric introduce Jo Churchill to their energy saving tech

Reducing inputs with herbal leys – Barenbrug

Yvonne Hargreaves, Brand Marketing Manager at Barenbrug, comments: “At Barenbrug, we’ve one simple goal: to help all farmers make the most of grass, forage and herbal leys – and that applies across the board, whether you’re producing milk, raising livestock or growing essential crops.

“Our innovative grass and forage genetics help generate practical agronomic and environmental gains across UK farming systems for increased productivity and sustainability.”

Barenbrug discuss grass breeding and benefits of herbs

Embedding on-farm safety into the culture – Safe Ag Systems

Safe Ag Systems supports farmers in improving safety and compliance by embedding it into the culture. Safe Ag Systems’ software is an operational on-farm tool that can be used by everyone, making it easy to record checks, report safety issues and gain access to relevant information at the point of need.

“The online tool guides you through the risk assessment process with a set of questions, which enables you to determine the inherent risks and provides practical advice on how to control them as specified in ISO31000,” Hannah Clarke, UK Implementation Specialist at Safe Ag Systems explains.

“If safety is tied into an operational tool on-farm – utilised by everyone – it can then provide evidence of behavioural change and also of good practice toward food safety, fair employment and sustainability. Our product is now helping thousands of businesses gain certifications easily.”

SafeAg describe the benefit of using a QR code on machinery to link to info when needed.

‘Irrigation as a service’ reduces water and waste – DripUK / Howseman Agriculture

A recyclable drip tape system that reduces water, energy and labour while ensuring soil moisture levels at a critical time has been trialled by Norfolk farmers. Howseman Agriculture, with its sister company DripUK, is the first in the UK to offer Streamline X Re-Gen, a drip tape that can be recycled at the end of the season.

Andrew Howseman, Managing Director of Howseman Agriculture, explains that the company is offering ‘irrigation as a service’ and has developed a circular system that reduces the cost of irrigation for farmers.

Andrew Howseman (right) explains the benefits of his smart irrigation technology to the Dutch guests

BBC Look East and Anna Hill from Farming Today visited the Innovation Hub to talk to the exhibitors and see the demonstrations.

BBC Look East’s Alex Dunlop talks to Andrew Howseman
BBC Farming Today’s Anna Hill talks to Alistair Wright, BBRO

Some images from the Innovation Hub 2022 (click to enlarge):

Cereal camo-cropping – BBRO in the Innovation Hub

Meet the Network
Agri-TechE

Camouflage is one of the techniques being deployed by the BBRO (British Beet Research Organisation) to protect sugar beet from viruses spread by aphids. The BBRO has a team of scientists and field trials operators working on industry-focused research projects and it has for many years sponsored the Agri-TechE Innovation Show at the Royal Norfolk Show.

The withdrawal of chemicals has created a challenge for sugar beet growers, but BBRO has been developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to provide more sustainable alternatives. 

Dr Vicky Foster, Head of BBRO comments: “BBRO are proud to be sponsoring the Innovation Hub again this year, allowing a number of interesting companies to join us in showcasing new technology and advances inVicky Foster in the Innovation Hub agricultural research. With the changing face of farming and the loss of many chemical actives there is a lot of exciting work to discuss.”

Tackling Virus Yellows with cereal camo-cropping

Potatoes, wheat and sugar beet collectively make up more than 55% of the total estimate of waste in primary productionOne of the major concerns for the sugar beet industry at present is the prevalence of Virus Yellows, a complex of three viruses that are transmitted by aphids (Myzus persicae and Macrosiphum euphorbiae). BBRO is researching two potential ways to combat the spread of this disease by using camouflage techniques.

The first is cereal camo-cropping. The theory is that growing a cereal crop in with the sugar beet helps to obscure it by reducing the soil-plant contrast which aphids use to locate sugar beet. The other approach is to use food dyes to change the ground colour and hide the emerging beet. Find out more on the BBRO member page about the field trial being run alongside Morley Farms.

BBRO are also undertaking several projects related to beneficial insects, with intercropping and flowering strips to encourage beneficial numbers and also flowering mixes to act as either repellent’s or draws for the aphids, effectively pulling or pushing the aphids out of the beet crop.

BBRO are committed to finding solutions for the sugar beet industry through integrated pest management (IPM), an area of work led by Dr Alistair Wright and Dr Georgina Barratt, who will be at the show to discuss their trials.

Vicky continues: “It is important to test these techniques under different conditions so we want the help of sugar beet farmers to explore camo-cropping as a future mitigation strategy against virus yellows.”

More information about BBRO


Innovation Hub 2022

Safe Ag Systems presents new tool to support on-farm safety at Innovation Hub 2022

Agri-TechE Article
Agri-TechE

“Knowing your risks and managing them to keep people safe is not only the right thing to do legally, it’s also the right thing to do morally,” says Hannah Clarke, UK Implementation Specialist at Safe Ag Systems. The company supports farmers in improving safety and compliance by embedding it into the culture. Safe Ag Systems’ software is an operational on-farm tool that can be used by everyone, making it easy to record checks, report safety issues and gain access to relevant information at the point of need. The company will be demonstrating its system in the Innovation Hub at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Safe Ag Systems screenshotIn 2020/21, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recorded an increase in fatal injuries to agricultural workers, 41 compared to the yearly average of 28 fatalities since 2016. The largest cause is being struck by a moving vehicle, followed by being injured by an animal and killed by contact with machinery. Agriculture has a higher injury rate than any other industry, despite only employing 1% of the workforce. It was revealed that over half of these fatalities were farm workers over 60.

Hannah comments: “We know farm vehicles are the biggest hazard and it is concerning that even with improved designs and modern equipment we are still seeing vehicle related accidents.

A risk assessment allows an agribusinesses to systematically identify hazards, evaluate the risks and implement control measures.

“To meet demand for a simple risk assessment that was fit for agriculture and to help farm businesses improve safety and compliance we launched our Risk Assessment Tool in 2021, which addresses two types of risk assessments, Machinery and Equipment, and a General Risk assessment. The tool is free to use and will educate the user on how to identify risk and put corrective actions in motion.”

The online tool guides you through the risk assessment process with a set of questions, which enables you to determine the inherent risks and provides practical advice on how to control them as specified in ISO31000.

Hannah explains: “If safety is tied into an operational tool on-farm – utilised by everyone – it can then provide evidence of behavioural change and also of good practice toward food safety, fair employment and sustainability. Our product is now helping thousands of businesses gain certifications easily.”

Hannah Clarke
Hannah Clarke, UK Implementation Specialist at Safe Ag Systems

Safe Ag Systems supports compliance with health and safety regulations by making policies and procedures easy to access. It also helps to prevent incidents occurring, with a mobile app that makes it easier to update records about chemical handling and maintenance, for example, and to report hazards through an app on a smartphone. Currently, users across five countries utilise the tool to capture records across employment, machinery maintenance, company policy and any type of procedure.

Provable compliance is essential for all agribusiness. There is no right or wrong way to manage safety in the workplace, but you need to be able to prove that you are meeting legal responsibilities. How you prove your compliance may differ for the business, manager and workers.

The team at Safe Ag Systems are known for being innovative and focusing on continuously improving and creating new functionality. The goal is to increase efficiencies and remove the paperwork barriers to enhance operations for an agricultural business. May 2022 will see the addition of an audit module to streamline the process of gaining certifications for food safety and internal audits.

Hannah says that Safe Ag Systems aims to simplify record-keeping by creating a set of maintained records that can address multiple sets of criteria. This tool inputs real-time evidence directly into an audit assessment form.

Hannah is looking forward to talking to people in the Innovation Hub: “My goal is to streamline the excessive paperwork and compliance that farmers have to manage. Every farmer should be able to rest easy knowing they are doing the right thing on farm and that their employees have safety front of mind.”

More about Safe Ag Systems

 


Innovation Hub 2022

Empowering the potato: TSL at the Innovation Hub

Agri-TechE Article
Agri-TechE

Genetic developments at TSL could improve potato processing

 
Potato performance and quality is always a hot topic. At The Sainsbury Lab, in Norwich, scientists have been using the latest methods enable some improvements for the humble spud.
“Our goal at TSL is replace chemistry with genetics for control of important crop diseases, so that farmers and consumers everywhere can benefit from reduction in the need for agrichemical applications, by enabling creation of crop varieties that carry genetic resistance.”
Join Jonathan Jones, Agnieeszka Witek and Sebastian Fairhead for an update on how high-tech breeding can improve lives for potato growers at the Innovation Hub on Wednesday 1st July.
Visit their stand in the Innovation Hub to learn more.