The Farming Minister set out the government’s approach to agri-tech and innovation at the World Agri-Tech Summit this week.
Nineteen innovative projects developing automation and robotic technologies will receive a share of £12.5 million in government funding to boost productivity, food security and sustainable farming practices, the Farming Minister Mark Spencer announced.
This brings the total government funding announced to fund industry-led research and development in agriculture and horticulture to £120m since 2021.
The projects – funded through the Farming Futures Automation and Robotics competition – include developing a system to accurately predict and enhance quality of strawberry yields, reduce waste and optimise labour and harvesting schedules; a new system to digitally map and monitor vineyards using drones, robots and sensors; and a navigation system for field-based robotic vehicles to improve accuracy and reliability and enable safe navigation in farmyard and field operations.
The funding comes through the Farming Futures Automation and Robotics competition, which is part of Defra’s £270m Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and is delivered by Innovate UK.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Farmers are always forward-looking, and innovation is key to driving a resilient, productive and sustainable agriculture sector that puts food on our tables.
“The government stands firmly behind agri-tech innovation as the cornerstone of modern farming practices. By providing opportunities, funding and a supportive ecosystem within the sector, we aim to empower farmers, drive innovation and create a sustainable and prosperous future for agriculture across the UK.”