The UK government has announced that it will be funding three innovative projects to improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, and climate resilience. The funding, totaling £9.13 million, will support projects aimed at developing robotic crop harvesting for horticulture, an autonomous system for cow bedding, and a more environmentally-friendly approach to potato cultivation. These projects are part of the government’s Farming Innovation Programme, which aims to support farmers to invest in productivity, animal health, welfare, innovation, research, and development. The government has committed to spending around £600 million on grants over three years to achieve these goals.
The Agri-Opencore project, led by APS Produce, will receive over £3.8m to accelerate the development of robotic crop systems for horticulture. The funding will be used to create the world’s first open development platform for agri-robotic crop harvesting, which is expected to accelerate the adoption of robotic picking by two years. This will be a significant step towards increasing agricultural productivity while reducing the environmental impact of farming.
The AG ARC project, led by Garnett Farm Engineering, has been awarded over £2.5m to develop an autonomous cow cubicle bedding unit. The project aims to improve cow health and welfare, boost farm productivity and reduce costs by using bedding more efficiently. This innovative approach is expected to significantly impact the dairy industry, where improving cow welfare and productivity is a top priority.
The Potato-LITE project has been awarded £2,830,000 to explore optimized systems for potato cultivation. The project aims to reduce the depth, intensity, and number of operations required for potato cultivation. By doing so, the project hopes to improve soil health, reduce the environmental impact of potato production, and reduce costs, making the potato sector more resilient and sustainable. This project will be a significant step towards achieving the UK’s goal of achieving sustainable agriculture.
The UK government’s commitment to funding innovative projects to improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, and climate resilience is a welcome development. The Farming Innovation Programme, which supports farmers to invest in research and development, is a significant step towards achieving these goals. The funding of these three innovative projects will significantly impact the agricultural sector. It will help to ensure that the UK’s agricultural industry remains competitive, sustainable, and resilient. In addition, the success of these projects will encourage more investment in research and development in the agricultural sector, leading to more innovative solutions to the challenges facing agriculture.