Northern farmers benefit from agribot technology

A group of 40 sheep and cattle farmers from Sheffield have been trialling a self-driving ‘agribot’, to help manage the hilly moorland for their livestock. 

The agricultural piece of technology is based on a bomb-disposal robot and uses on-board sensors and cameras, alongside information provided by Ordnance Survey maps and satellite images, to identify and dispose of weeds on difficult terrain. The piece of technology was developed with the aid of a £182,000 grant from Agri-Tech Catalyst. If successful, it could be used on a commercial scale.

This comes as part of an initiative to help northern farmers benefit from innovation.

Speaking at the annual Northern Farming Conference in Hexham, Farming Minister George Eustice highlighted the importance of farmers utilising innovative technology.

“Although there has been great pressure on farm incomes over the past 12 months, I believe the industry has a good future and technological advances will help British farmers improve their productivity and make the industry more resilient and better-placed to deal with pests and diseases,” he said.

He highlighted that the industry employs over 70,000 people in the north and, to help develop the sector further, the government is investing some of its £160 million Agri-Tech Strategy funding into a range of innovative food and farming ‘Catalyst’ projects throughout the north of England.

Eustice concluded by adding: “Farmers are playing a central role in building a strong economy in the north and I want to support them to grow more and sell more.”

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