What can a Rubik’s cube, PVA glue, Deep Heat, 3D printing, a bomb…. and more, tell us about emerging agri-tech? Join us at REAP 2020 to find out!
Snap that rust. Scoring plants for diseases such as rust is time-consuming and needs the eye of a trained pathologist. Could machine learning be used to score images taken on a phone? Could this technology enable farmers to identify pathogens quickly in the field?
Is fertiliser changing soil microbial populations? Microbe populations change over space and time and are impacted by human interventions such a soil cultivation or fertiliser application. Could providing wrong levels of nutrients be adversely impacting beneficial organisms?
Microscopic fungi provide the glue that aggregates soil particles; a better understanding of the role of glycoproteins could provide insights into improving soil resilience and structure. How does tillage impact this glue?
In which order should crops be rotated to get the best outcome, and why? The answers are hidden in the soil, but are finally being revealed with forensic technologies such as DNA Barcoding. It offers unprecedented insights into the fungi and bacterial communities that have such a huge impact on crop growth and yield. Now is the time to finally find out what is happening beneath your feet.
Are robot highways the future? The COVID-19 crisis has shown the fragility of food supply chains. It has also accelerated the labour challenges for the agricultural industry predicted for the UK post-BREXIT. Both these elements have generated interest and a sense of urgency for new methods of automating agricultural processes – but how far is this from the farmgate?
We are entering a golden era of crop science – basic science has given us insights into how plants grow and defend themselves against disease and stress and we now have a tool box to improve these traits – the explosive next step in the journey will be to replace chemistry with biological nutrition.
Headlines suggest the world’s topsoil could be gone in 60 years, but does the evidence support these claims? For the first time, global studies of soil lifespan are digging in to discover which soils are at risk and why. Whilst most soils are degrading, hope lies in those that are bucking the trend.
Airborne crop diseases are responsible for devastating loss of yield and over-reliance on pesticides. Current detection regimes often rely on expert identification of the pathogen from plant damage. Together with collaborators, we have developed Air-seq, a new approach that seeks to identify pathogens through sequencing of biological material present in the air.
Could aromatherapy be used to kill pests such as peach-potato aphids that are resistant to pyrethroids? Orange oil is an aromatic that has been shown to interfere with the basic metabolic, biochemical and physiological functions of insects. Could botanically pesticides modify behaviour to provide crop avoidance?