Articles, Blog

Harvest 2050 – with subtitles

September 12, 2019


Science generally has the ability to transform
the competitiveness and the profitability of farm businesses in the UK. As we improve farm communications, as we improve
data capturing tools farming is going to change dramatically. I think in the next 30 years the advances
we see in genetic improvement, in the use of big data, data driven technologies, and
also understanding farm systems is where we are really going to see the step changes in
the transformation in agriculture production. And if we utilise these technologies then
we’ve got the ability to make the whole crop production system significantly more
efficient than it is now. It’s the way things have got to go to keep
competitive, lots of new things to think about, lots of new ideas and technology around the
corner. Harvest 2050 – Transforming Food Production Instead of using dumb machines we can use
smart machines and those smart machines can then help us to achieve what we all want;
cheap, efficient, good quality, low impact food. We’ve developed a robot strawberry harvesting
system that not only picks the strawberries but also grades the strawberries at the point
of harvest. Another project we’re running is the ‘hands-free-hectare’,
which is where we then grow a complete cycle of crop (in this case barley), in one hectare
without anybody ever going in that hectare. The machines are in the field running by themselves. The future of the UK aquaculture industry
is going to be entirely dependent on innovation. With an increasing global population and a
rapidly increasing demand for seafood the use of modern genetic testing is becoming
absolutely essential to drive steady trade gains and to prevent in-breeding. So, by 2050 we expect to see modern genetic
techniques being used in the UK by the major salmon farming companies, new companies coming
into existence and older companies switching to genetics for the first time. Here at the Earlham Institute we are looking
at different ways that new technologies can help farmers so that they can make a sound
decision about the timing of chemical applications and irrigation. Nearly everyone is flying UAV’s and drones
nowadays, however, how to extract the meaningful information from this data is the current
bottleneck and what we are doing is to utilise the latest image analysis as well as machine
learning algorithms and then generating a waning message triggering system. Which means
that if, if the crops are under stress that will trigger a warning message – it means
that farmers will need to do something for their crops. We are currently witnessing in argriculture
a new data revolution. Connectivity is the Holy Grail. We’ve been working with some
satellite companies to try and develop a new wireless technology solution so that farmers
can have connected tractors and sensors in fields that are connected to the internet
24 hours a day. That will allow us a whole new opportunity to start looking at how we
can connect vehicles, transfer data and support people in ways that we can only dream of today. If we can achieve a genuine partnership between
the farming community and the science community we have the potential to transform the profitability
and competiveness of farming businesses in the UK. Aquaculture around the world is worth $150
billion dollars. Only 10% of this is currently using modern genetic tools to manage the breeding
programmes. There’s a vast opportunity around the world. And from the data revolution I’m convinced
we are going to see a new engineering revolution, potentially allowing us to change our whole
cropping systems. Agriculture robots will have a world-wide
impact to make the whole crop production system significantly more efficient, and that’s
good for economics, that’s good for sustainability it’s good for society.

1 Comment

  • Reply Trees woods & forest gardens - agroforestry arboriculture March 22, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Great video as always, the future of farming looks good.

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