Posted 30 January
“The visit will provide a great opportunity for the university to demonstrate the ongoing research on the use of autonomous machines to grow and harvest a range of crops."
HRH The Princess Royal and Vice Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn during the Chancellor's last visit.
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, will return to Shropshire’s Harper Adams University in March to meet researchers and learn about the technology being used in its world-first hands-free farming.
HRH The Princess Royal has been the University’s Chancellor since 2013. Her official visit will bring her to the new Hands Free Farm on the Shropshire campus on March 27.
The farm is an expansion of the Hands Free Hectare project, through which university researchers grew crops autonomously, without operators in the driving seats or agronomists on the ground.
The Hands Free Farm is initially a three-year project, running in partnership between Harper Adams and Precision Decisions Ltd, along with a new partner, the UK division of Australian precision agriculture specialist Farmscan AG.
The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-Epi Centre) is providing the team with development space and project management support at their Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, also located on the university’s campus.
The Chancellor will be welcomed by representatives of the project’s main team and supporters, as well as by staff and students.
Head of the Engineering Department, Parmjit Chima, said: “The visit will provide a great opportunity for the university to demonstrate the ongoing research on the use of autonomous machines to grow and harvest a range of crops. The Hands Free Farm builds on the vision of the globally renowned Hands Free Hectare project to use technology and automation to support farmers with a range agricultural operations in the future.”
Commenting on the visit, Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn said: “We will be delighted to welcome the Chancellor back to Shropshire and to the University. Not only will we be able to show Her Royal Highness our latest research, but some of our students will have the chance to share their experience of studying at Harper Adams and their plans for the future. There is much to consider as we face new support arrangements for UK agriculture, and the challenge of supplying the nation’s food while we protect the environment. The Chancellor’s visit will provide a timely opportunity to discuss these important issues, and the University’s contribution, by working with industry, to addressing them, through its research, education and knowledge exchange activities.”