The premier technical event in the crop calendar, CropTec, this year saw The Agri-Tech Centres – Agri-EPI, CHAP and CIEL sponsor the StartUp Zone, giving fledgling companies in the agri-tech space an opportunity to present their technology and ideas to a new audience in order to help them scale their businesses.
The tech on offer included that from a number of the three Centres’ members, including:-
- Vertinetik Ltd: how advanced drone technology can swiftly address tree health;
- AgriSound Ltd: automated monitoring for precision pollination and biodiversity monitoring;
- Earth Rover Ltd: lightweight autonomous field robot;
- Knowmatics: transforming risk assessment for invasive agricultural pests;
- Altered Carbon Ltd: spotting crop health issues early with a “digital nose”
- British On-Farm Innovation Network (BOFIN): revolutionary SLIMERS slug control and the value of farmer knowledge; and
- Navigate Ecosystem: nutrient management.
Experts in the field from both Agri-EPI and CHAP were on hand to talk about farmer-led and farmer-focused innovation, rethinking future farming systems and agri-tech’s role in future-proofing crop protection. And representatives from CIEL discussed their latest research on the role livestock plays in the Nitrogen cycle.
The proposed merger between the three Centres was also discussed at various points throughout the show and Centre staff highlighted the ways in which their UK-wide capabilities, world-class facilities, investment and innovation expertise and extensive networks would create a hub in which agri-tech innovators can thrive.
Phil Bicknell, interim director of CIEL, said: “It has been great to see agri-tech in the spotlight at CropTec. We’ve heard inspirational speakers talk about their innovative ideas, progress to date and how the Agri-Tech Centres – supported by UKRI – have helped.
“The Agri-Tech Centres support numerous innovative start-ups at every stage of their commercial journey, helping them to write strong funding bids, secure investment and build consortia. We drive agri-tech innovation and adoption at speed through our world-class facilities, expert knowledge and business support.”
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