Technology that reduces cost, improves the efficiency and promotes the health of plants and animals was showcased at ‘Agri-Tech in Action’. This Agri-Tech Week event was co-hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) and Easton and Otley College.
Precision enables prediction and prevention – the key words to describe the technologies discussed, which were aimed at improving the precision of seed drilling, using plants own defence systems to improve resilience and next generation ear tags that can monitor the health of cattle.
By providing early warning of issues that would not be visible with the naked eye the technology improves the ability to intervene before the problem escalates.
Farming for the future with Väderstad seed eye
Väderstad discussed its new technology which allows variable rate seed drilling and tram lining. It uses wireless communications between tractor and device to control the drilling. The company discussed the potential of the Internet of Things – where devices are able to communicate with each other to send data in real-time – and it is ensuring that new developments offer inter-operabilty with existing farm management software.
Growing cereals without fungicide
Mark Law of Law Fertilisers talked about the company’s Enhanced Nutrient Programme, which uses scientific insights into plant nutrition to build resilience in healthy plants.
Boosting and enhancing the naturally occurring plant processes, or “elicitors”, by using added nutrition such as selenium, phosphorus etc at the right time can help the plant build even great resilience to pests and diseases and optimise growth.
It is necessary to understand the nutritional needs of the plant at times of stress and ensure deliver appropriate nutrients and ways of managing biology and chemistry in the plant.
Ear tags for cattle
Heat detection and fertility drives everything on a dairy farm and it is important to maintain consistency as cattle are more content if they have a regular routine with the same people.
Ben Nottage, from Worldwide Sires UK, has developed a wireless ear sensor that can accurately predict when a cow is going into heat or is ill. Monitors allow comparisons of each individual animal and checks and logs changes from the normal behaviour from that individual. This allows early warning before there are visual signs.