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UK Centre for Precision Farming Launched

05 March 2012

UK - Harper Adams launched its National Centre for Precision Farming at a packed Parliament reception on Wednesday night.

Hosted by farmer Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, more than 100 politicians and industry stakeholders heard how the agricultural university college was taking engineering and innovation to the next level.

A number of events are to take place at the Shropshire campus in the coming months focusing on the art of precise farming, but the main boost for students will be the introduction of a masters qualification in precision agriculture, which will be offered from 2013.

Harper Adams principal Dr David Llewellyn said: “As Peter Kendall said at NFU Conference, we want to get innovative solutions out of the laboratory and into the field. Agricultural engineering needs to have a higher profile in the food security debate. We feel that we have a significant role to play in addressing these issues.”

The new centre will be unique within the UK and will be used by Professor Simon Blackmore, the university’s new professor of engineering, to host a lecture on the use of robotics in Agriculture in April, marking the start of the centre’s activity.

Study areas will cover both commercial arable and dairy production. For the crops sector, the centre will promote and evaluate the technologies that are open to farmers. For dairy producers, information on smarter machines to improve animal management decisions will be provided.

Professor Blackmore added: “We all recognise that there’s greater pressure on farmers to create greater outputs from less inputs. Precision agriculture meets many goals because it moves us towards sustainable farming and is better for the environment.”

Julian Sturdy, a Harper Adams graduate, said at the London launch: “If we’re going to do this, we have to become the world leaders in it and what Harper Adams has started to do is the beginning of this. If we can improve technology it helps UK PLC become a lot better place.”

TheCropSite News Desk

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