The Centre aims to promote collaboration between universities, the agricultural engineering industry and the food and farming sectors, and provides the means to contribute, in this field of expertise, to other collaborative agri-food networks. The focus is on how advanced technologies can be employed to help increase food production, whilst minimising inputs and reducing the carbon footprint of the agri-food chain.
Harper Adams runs the only undergraduate degrees in the country in agricultural engineering, which produce engineers to design and deliver this vital but under recognised aspect of the farming sector - covering everything from tractors and combine harvesters to spraying technology.
The agricultural engineering industry is increasingly joining up mechanical systems with electronic solutions in arable production, but more needs to be done to get these techniques in front of a wider audience. The Centre also covers livestock production, which has been slower to develop technologically than crop-based precision farming. There are now technologies, for example, that could help improve animal welfare by better monitoring feed intake and informing the farmer, remotely, about what is going on inside the animal. The Centre brings all of these new technologies and practices together, and provides a unique contribution to the UK's efforts to tackling the global challenge of food security.
The agricultural industry needs a facility where research can be carried out in a secure and risk-free setting, where lessons will be learned and applied across the sector.