- The UK government has announced £12.5 million in funding for 19 innovative projects focused on automation and robotics in agriculture.
- The funding is part of Defra’s £270 million Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and is delivered by Innovate UK.
- Projects include systems for predicting strawberry yields, digitally mapping vineyards, and improving navigation for field-based robotic vehicles.
- The initiative aims to boost productivity, food security, and sustainable farming practices.
- Since 2021, the UK government has committed over £120 million to fund industry-led R&D in agriculture and horticulture.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer announced a £12.5 million government investment in 19 innovative projects to develop agricultural automation and robotic technologies. The funding is part of Defra’s £270 million Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and will be delivered by Innovate UK.
The funded projects cover a range of applications, including a system to accurately predict and enhance the quality of strawberry yields, reduce waste, and optimize labor and harvesting schedules. Another project uses drones, robots, and sensors to map and monitor vineyards digitally. Additionally, a navigation system for field-based robotic vehicles aims to improve accuracy and reliability in farmyard and field operations.
Objectives and Impact
The funding aims to boost productivity, food security, and sustainable farming practices. It is part of the UK government’s commitment to invest in industry-led research and development in agriculture and horticulture, which has seen over £120 million in funding since 2021. The initiative will also help the UK meet its commitment to produce at least 60% of domestically consumed food.
Florian Richter, CEO of Muddy Machines LTD, emphasized the importance of such funding for the progression toward commercial operations. Oli Hilbourne, CEO and Co-Founder at Outfield Technologies highlighted the strength of UK innovation funding in solving specific industry challenges.
The Farming Minister also outlined other competitions under the Farming Innovation Programme, including £10 million currently offered through the Small R&D Partnerships competition and a further £4.5 million through the Feasibility Studies Competition. These funds aim to help businesses develop new farming products and services and take them to commercialization.