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IAgrE annual conference voted a resounding success

IAgrE tackled the challenge of translating agri-tech research into on-farm action at this year’s annual conference held at the Royal Academy of Engineers in London.

“Linking industry needs with research ‘know-how’ is at the heart of UK agriculture meeting its productivity potential.  The aim of the conference was to share best-practice in effective knowledge exchange in agricultural engineering, delivering tangible benefits for both agri-businesses and research partners,” said Jane Rickson President of IAgrE.

Overall delegate feedback was that expectations were exceeded.  Comments included:  cracking content provided by a line-up of excellent speakers, so glad I attended.  A great networking opportunity, the presentations were excellent – plenty of slides but not death by PowerPoint.  Every IAgrE member should have got something out of this conference. The venue also received many positive comments.  “We were definitely well looked after,” said Sarah McLeod, conference organiser from the IAgrE Secretariat.

Dr Susannah Bolton, Knowledge Exchange Director, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board talked about the true beneficiary of Knowledge Exchange.  “By placing farm businesses at the centre of AHDB KE activity, we can maximise farmer engagement and the uptake of best practice as well as ensuring new and potentially game-changing innovative technologies are introduced to the industry as quickly as possible.”

Independent Consultant Keith Norman, formerly of Velcourt Ltd explored innovative solutions being developed for tomorrow’s crop production and how vital a two-way collaboration between farmers and engineers is needed to make it all work.

There were also a series of short presentations from a number of current and research collaborations where Knowledge Exchange has led to a successful outcome.  Clive Blacker and Kit Franklin talked about the ‘Hands Free Hectare’ project which has drawn interest from all over the world.

Professor Simon Pearson, Director at LIAT, Lincoln University  showcased some of his work with digital technology and robotics on post-harvest and intensive crop production in the vegetable growing sector.  He talked about how partnerships have been used to develop best practice and have a positive impact in terms of food production.

James Molden from Frontier Agriculture Ltd and Dr Iain Dummett Cranfield University reflected on their experiences of a PhD supported by industry which included research methodologies from farmer hosted field trials to experiments carried out under controlled conditions.   

A full report will feature in the winter edition of Landwards and the presentations can be viewed at