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    Mathematics plays a key role in agriculture

    Posted 19 May 2015

    Mathematics plays an essential role in agri-tech innovation, was the key message highlighted at a special seminar hosted at Harper Adams University recently.

    The event was organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) with the aim of bringing together industry professionals to discuss how mathematics can benefit agriculture.

    Dr Matt Butchers from KTN, said: “'The purpose of this meeting was to bring industrial mathematicians and agricultural practitioners into the same room to kick-start the process of finding innovative solutions to real business challenges in agriculture. 

    “We were really pleased with how the day went. More than 50 delegates enjoyed presentations from world-renown agricultural specialists and mathematicians.

    “Many of the agricultural businesses present found willing and eager collaborators with maths expertise to start progressing new collaborative project ideas.”

    As well as highlighting the ways in which mathematics can help the agricultural community with tasks such as forecasting and modelling, the event also provided an opportunity to share problems and solutions.

    Keynote speaker at the event, Professor Graeme Wake of Massey University, New Zealand, explained how he uses models rooted in systems biology, in conjunction with purpose-built experimental data and a deep understanding of animal-plant physiology.

    Professor Wake said: “Modern-day applied mathematics can be used with high impact on farm systems and precision agriculture.

    “It provides excellent decision-support tools and brings a degree of rigour to the industry, which has often been lacking in the past.

    “The agricultural industry has been relatively late in choosing to bring mathematics to bear on the processors involved and the meeting hosted at Harper Adams University has provided a timely focus in this area.”

    Funding opportunities available to those that want to pursue potential collaborations formed at the event were also explained, including the support available from the KTN.

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