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    Harper Adams on The Gadget Show!

    10 August 2020

    On Friday evening, The Gadget Show aired an insight into the futuristic farming happening at Harper Adams. From the Hands Free Farm to the robotic dairy through to using drones to check crop quality, the innovative projects showcased how research is changing the way we understand farming and pushing the boundaries of the agricultral industry.

    First on the line up of future farming tech was the autonomous tractor. Kit Franklin, Senior Lecturer of Agricultural Engineering, showcased the vehicle working the land saying: "We're running it on a completely standard commercial tractor ... we retro-fitted it with the automonous technology."

    Being able to farm the land without guidance while detecting any obstructions by starting and stopping with 20mm will allow farmers to get practical and paperwork done at the same time. Kit commented: "The idea is one day you would work [the autonomous tractor] all from the farm office."

    Following this, presenter Georgie turned to the robotic dairy, showcasing useful tech to help aid the day to day care of the cows and sources of long term research.

    From the milker that allows cows to choose when they want to be milked; to slurry scrapers and feed tidying robots, it is an efficient dairy to promote the wellbeing of the cows inside.

    Alongwith this, the 'cow fitbit' was highlighted, a device that has helped staff and students alike with research into lameness and reproductive cycles. The small piece of technology is incredibly useful in better understanding the herd and its behaviours.

    Last but certainly not least, Jonathan Gill, Mechatronics Researcher and UAV Pilot, showcased how drones are being used in the agricultural industry. From identifying weeds and using precision spraying to target them, he commented: "It's perfect for areas that you don't want to use a large sprayer system ... it could be the greenest solution of operating any agro-chemical in the environment."

    An extended thanks to all involved in highlighting the innovative work happening across campus. To watch the episode, please click here.

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