Industry examines satellite technology for agri-food business

The potential for satellite technology to improve agri-food businesses will be explored at a networking event in October in London.

A competition with a 3m prize funding has been launched by Innovate UK for projects that will improve productivity in the sector using satellites and, as well as providing a briefing on this, the event will cover other funding opportunities available.

There are numerous opportunities for using satellites in farming, according to the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), which is organising the 7 October event, designed to bring together leading agriculture and food organisations with satellite and space companies.

Potential uses for satellite technology include livestock monitoring and tracking, whole farm systems whereby sensors on animal communicate with a central database, farm machinery guidance and auto-steer technology, and stock movement traceability and provenance.

New space services, such as the European navigation system, Galileo, and the European remote sensing system, Copernicus, are coming online. Together with new global data providers, these have the potential to create a disruptive change and the UK is well positioned to take advantage, said Andy Powell of KTN.

Space-enabled systems, using technologies such as precision navigation, remote sensing (earth observation) and satellite communications, can provide opportunities for more efficient agriculture and food production, he added.

Satellite technology started to become used at the turn of the Millennium, when GPS systems first became widely available, enabling farmers to pinpoint their precise location in a field and farm according to their knowledge of the land.

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