The annual ‘Agri-Tech Week’ is kicking off in November, showcasing the best of innovation from the thriving Agri-Tech Cluster. The action-packed week features a range of events certain to stimulate debate and create new market opportunities. Highlighting a wealth of expertise, research, innovation and the flagship REAP Conference on day three, Agri-Tech Week will resonate with players across the agri-tech ecosystem, from farmers to researchers and technologists to investors. Agri-Tech Week was established in 2014 by Agri-Tech East, the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and the Suffolk Agricultural Association.
Further details are available at http://bit.ly/ATW-2016.
Some of the events include:
Monday morning: Talking Shop – using and reducing waste from fresh produce
7 November, Eastern AgriGate Research Hub, Nr Soham, Cambridgeshire
As food and other organic waste decompose, the bacteria and fungi feeding on it convert the material to another form. This process can be used to create secondary metabolites of enormous commercial importance; antibiotics can be made this way, for example.
Steve Taylor, of Norfolk company Celbius, will be talking about how ultrasonication can be used to extract these important chemicals at the ‘Talking Shop’ event to be run by NIAB at the Eastern AgriGate Research Hub. Celbius sister company Zembra have been using extracted plant materials to produce a safe slug and snail repellent.
A number of businesses that are successfully re-purposing waste will be talking about their experiences. The discussion will extend to include waste reduction at all stages of field production starting from inputs through to harvest and storage.
Farmers, growers and entrepreneurs are invited to this Talking Shop event, which aims to facilitate mutually beneficial contacts.
Monday evening: Embracing Automation to Secure Competitiveness
7 November, National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), University of Lincoln, Spalding
The National Living Wage (NLW) and the impact of Brexit on the cost and supply of labour, will likely lead to increased automation of the agri-food chain, speakers will delve into the automation options and bring attention to current, emerging and future robotic technologies.
The evening is to conclude with a tour of the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, robot demonstrations and networking, including the chance to meet APRIL (Automated Processing Robotic Ingredient Loading), a pilot robotic system installed by Peterborough-based OAL.
‘Embracing Automation to Secure Competitiveness’ is organised by the Lincolnshire Branch of the Institute of Agricultural Management.
Tuesday: Visit to Aspall: Innovation In Practice
8 November, Aspall, The Cyder House, Debenham, IP14 6PD
As well as a behind-the-scenes tour and tastings, visitors will also be able to see how Aspall embeds innovation at the heart of its business.
Aspall is a flagship regional company which produces ciders, juices and vinegars. This event is being held in partnership with Fram Farmers.
Tuesday evening: Tackling the Agri challenge with genomics
8 November, Earlham Institute, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UG
Genomics will transform plant breeding and development of pest control strategies. The programme begins with a panel discussion, introducing key research themes and providing insight into next generation sequencing techniques.
An interactive workshop, led by Earlham Institute experts, will wrap up the evening. Participants will share ideas on new technology and accessibility, data storage and analysis, rapid response to pests and disease, health of farm animals and the application of next-generation sequencing to crop breeding. Identifying future goals, the groups will develop a ‘route map’ to achieve them.
Wednesday: Innovation for an agricultural revolution – REAP conference
9 November, Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre, CB10 1RQ
“Improving yields is about finding and dealing with limiting factors. Some farmers have increased yields by 50-100% and it wasn’t by doing more of what they had already been doing,” says REAP keynote speaker Gary Zimmer, a charismatic biological farmer and president of Midwestern BioAg.
Leading farmers and scientists will be joined by technologists from Bayer, BT, Fujitsu, Lockheed Martin and PA Consulting to discuss the potential of disruptive innovations to revolutionise the industry and boost the agri-economy.
The conference will feature panel sessions, emerging agri-tech research, a technical exhibition, and showcase the hottest start-ups. Full details at bit.ly/REAP-2016.
Thursday: Shiny kit and smart drivers: putting technology to work
10 November, Easton and Otley College, Easton Campus, Norwich, NR9 5DX
Precision farming is the focus of this practical workshop organised jointly by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) and Easton and Otley College. It will include an interactive John Deere masterclass, a chance to use a tractor and combine simulator and a keynote talk by Professor Rob Edwards, Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University.
The aim is to be thought-provoking and challenging and to look at the skills requirements for next generation machinery operators.
Friday: Raising the pulse of the UK pea and bean crop
11 November, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ
Peas and beans are rich in protein, gluten free, improve the soil fertility through nitrogen fixing and can break the pest cycle. So why are they not more widely grown? This is partially because pulses have gained a reputation for being agronomically challenging to grow with unreliable yields.
This situation is to be addressed in an information packed event organised by Agri-Tech East that captures the outputs created by ‘The International Year of the Pulse 2016’, DEFRAs PCGIN network and research projects funded by BBSRC, PGRO and AHDB.
By bringing together researchers, growers and agronomists, our aim is to achieve consistent yields – and maybe even reach 12 tonne/ha.
Further details are available at http://bit.ly/ATW-2016