Tag Archives: AgriTech East

Student develops salad harvester

A student at Cambridge University has won an industry award for developing a new concept for salad harvesting.

Armand de Durfort, a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique who has just completed his MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management at the University of Cambridge, developed his SoftHarvest system in cooperation with G’s Growers.

“The first challenge was to teach the harvester to recognise the lettuce and distinguish it from other green plants. The second was for it to pick the lettuce and cut it near to the ground without damaging it,” he explained.

“Our approach is to develop the vision recognition and control software and integrate this with a two-armed robot. By using existing hardware and adding considerable value with the application-specific software we aim to mitigate the risk of investment and provide a three-year return on investment.”

Presenting the Student award as part of Agri-Tech East’s GROW competition, Dr Belinda Clarke, said, “There is significant and growing demand for automation in agriculture as we move towards greater precision in all areas of the industry. Armand De Durfort produced a well researched business plan based on his direct experience of working with a commercial grower. It shows an appreciation of the narrow profit margins in this competitive market and the technology is inspirational.”

Photo Caption: Left-Right: David Langton (Agrii), Armand de Durfort (Softharvest), Phil Wigge (Pinpoint Phenomics), Belinda Clarke (Agri-Tech East)

Photo Credit: Agritech-East


The post Student develops salad harvester appeared first on Hort News on 13 July 2016.

New farming app aims to put farm in your pocket

A new mobile phone app aims to put “Your farm in your pocket,” according to Fieldmargin co-founder Rob Carter.

The idea for the system grew out of frustration at the number of different sources of notes and data being used around the farm, from agronomists to tractor drivers and others. Some was electronic and some was on scraps of paper. The new system allows information to be recorded in real time and accessed across the farm.

“For example an agronomist can use their phone to record and locate a note while crop walking and you can go and see exactly what they are talking about,” comments Rob.

“We’ve been developing Fieldmargin since 2013. Although Fieldmargin the Crop Recorder is complete and several farms use it as their sole crop recording software we still think that we can make it better,” he adds. The company is now looking for growers and farmers to help test the new mobile platform and develop potential features. For more information visit www.fieldmargin.com.

Photo Credit: fieldmargin

The post New farming app aims to put farm in your pocket appeared first on Hort News on 24 November 2015.

RFID start-up for farmers wants to expand

A new agri-tech startup aims to give farmers and growers the ability to attach data to any part of their farming business, from fields and machines, right down to individual animals, pickers or plants.

As Abby Schlageter of vidacycle explained, the idea first came about when her parents started an olive farm in Chile and wanted a way to keep track of which trees needed attention, such as re-staking or pruning. Eventually she hit upon the idea of using RFID tags coupled with a simple phone app.

These small discs use an electromagnetic field to transfer data wirelessly with no internet required, in turn allowing data to be ‘attached’ to each location fitted with a tag. As well as tracking individual trees, the company has also developed a system for tracking harvesting output for hand-picked produce such as fruit and vegetables. Each worker is given a tag and each time they hand in what they have picked the tag identifies them and the amount harvested.

Data can be stored on the phone or tablet or uploaded for further analysis on a computer. The company is now looking to expand and is seeking two or more UK farmers to help develop the system. For more information visit tech.vidacycle.com or email abby@vidacycle.com.

Photo Credit: tech.vidacycle

The post RFID start-up for farmers wants to expand appeared first on Hort News on 24 November 2015.

Meurig Raymond: Farming can survive current crisis

NFU President Meurig Raymond believes that farming can survive the current crisis affecting key sectors including cereals, milk and vegetables, but that in order to do so it must utilise the very best information and technology, not only to improve productivity, but also to emphasise the importance of the sector to society as a whole.

Speaking at AgriTech East’s REAP (Realising our Economic and Agricultural Potential) Conference on Wednesday (11 November) Raymond congratulated the Government for its recently announced 25 year Food and Farming Plan and emphasised how the NFU is feeding into that process, but he also lamented the fact that UK self-sufficiency in food has now fallen to just 62 per cent.

He said that provided they were allowed to make a return, farmers were more than willing to invest in the future of their businesses. “Our top priorities must be tackling the barriers to growth and investment,” he stressed. “We need a fair, transparent and functioning supply chain.”

In conclusion Mr Raymond said that policy makers needed to recognise the long term cycles affecting farming. “I am confident that farming is going to find its rightful place in society, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” he added.

Photo credit: Richard Crowhurst

The post Meurig Raymond: Farming can survive current crisis appeared first on Hort News.