Ingenious innovations to help transform UK farming

Business, News, Politics
  • Farmers set to benefit from innovations that boost food production and cut down on waste
  • funding will support projects including using electricity instead of herbicides to tackle destructive weeds and ground-penetrating radars that monitor potato crops
  • projects supported by £22 million of government investment through the modern Industrial Strategy

New technologies are set to help UK farmers cut down on pollution, minimise waste and produce more food thanks to a £22 million government investment.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore today (28 June 2019) announced the first 31 projects to benefit from the government’s dedicated Transforming Food Production Challenge, a £90 million Industrial Strategy fund to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform farming and meet the needs of a growing population.

This investment in the latest technological developments is a key part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, and commitment to boost R&Dspending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

It will also contribute towards providing greener, cleaner processes for the agricultural sector, helping towards the government’s commitment to a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Projects will benefit from a share of £22.4 million to develop their innovative projects, with industry partners contributing a further £8.8 million. They include:

  • Rootwave, in Warwickshire, who will use a £690,000 grant to use electricity instead of chemicals to kill weeds via the roots avoiding damage to crops
  • Tuberscan, in Lincolnshire, who will use £391,000 to develop ground penetrating radar, underground scans and AI to monitor potato crops and identify when they are ready to harvest. This technology could increase the usable crop by an estimated 5%-10% and reduce food waste with minimal extra cost
  • a project in Middlesex, who will use a £233,000 grant in its project to help cows graze without farmer supervision by placing sensors on farm gates that communicate with GPS trackers on cows to open and close gates allowing cattle to graze freely
  • aiScope, a project based in Sheffield, who will use a £1 million grant to apply AI and analysis to tackle the common cereal weed, Blackgrass, potentially saving farmers £580 million a year.

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