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Harper Adams takes the lead at Future Farm Technology Expo

Posted 13 November 2019

“The expo was a great opportunity to talk to people about the work of the Hands Free Hectare and the wider agritech research happening at Harper Adams.”

The Farmer’s Weekly Future Farm Technology Expo took place last week with Harper Adams University taking a prominent role in leading discussion around the future of agritech. The two-day event welcomed a variety of commercial agriculture companies, forward thinking farmers and representatives from agritech small businesses.

“The expo was a great opportunity to talk to people about the work of the Hands Free Hectare and the wider agritech research happening at Harper Adams.” said Senior Agricultural Engineering Lecturer, Kit Franklin, “I spoke in a session where I updated the audience on the current state of the Hands Free Farm project and the wider situation regarding leaders in the agriculture automation sector in the rapidly changing automation landscape with various systems soon making their way to market.”

On the Harper Adams stand there were demonstrations by a fleet of small platooning robots, part of a larger project at the university to create a platoon of automated vehicles that can operate on public highways. There were also demonstrations of laser weeding and ‘Norman’ the autonomous tractor which can provide information to farmers such as plant and livestock growth, crop pests and diseases as well as livestock behaviour and health. A number of Harper Adams experts gave talks and sat on panels throughout the event.

Professor James Lowenberg-DeBoer spoke on agri-tech economics following the launch of the Global Institute for Agri-Tech Economics at Harper Adams earlier in the year. Head of Engineering Parmjit Chima was part of a panel discussing technologies that make the biggest difference on commercial farms.

On a closing panel entitled ‘What Will Farming Look Like In 10 Years’ Time?’ Kit Franklin spoke passionately about the future of agri-tech saying “In the next 10 years it will no longer be a surprise to see an unmanned vehicle working a field. That’s not to say there will be no manned vehicles, simply to say that automated vehicles will be in commercial operation.”

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