Smart Farming

Precision ag: How unused TV spectrum and drones could help make smart farms a reality

According to a report published today by The Economist titled “TV Dinners”, Microsoft is busy with an experiment in Washington State in the US that it hopes will transform agriculture further afield. For the past year, the firm’s engineers have been developing a suite of technologies there to slash the cost of “precision agriculture”, which aims to use sensors and[Read More…]

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How growers can improve soil management decisions

A way of benchmarking soil health plus a tool aimed at helping farmers tackle soil compaction were among the highlights at Farmers Weekly’s Soils in Practice 2018 event. Farmers Weekly takes a look at the practical messages that can help growers improve their soil management in an insightful article published online. Defining soil health is tricky, but growers need look no further[Read More…]

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Video: Trial results in Belgium with controlled release fertilizers on potato production

In a video published by ICL Specialty Fertilizers, the Jolly farming operation in Ittre, Belgium shares results of their trial with Agrocote Max, a controlled release specialty fertilizer produced by ICL Fertilizers. The Interra farm project is up and running for 6 years now together with Syngenta and New Holland. Thanks to a successful trial with controlled release fertilizers, the[Read More…]

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Small Robot Company bids to re-imagine farming

During the next few years, farming will change beyond all recognition, with robots replacing huge tractors. That’s the view of the Small Robot Company, a start-up in the UK that has built its first prototype robot – “Tom“. Tom is part of a family of robots designed to operate at a more precise plan-by-plant basis, rather than the broad acre[Read More…]

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AVR’s new anti-erosion system for Ceres potato planters unveiled

In addition to the brand-new Lynx potato harvester, AVR exhibited also its latest state-of-the-art anti-erosion system at the recent Interpom trade fair in Europe. For the upcoming potato planting season, all AVR Ceres potato planters with a hopper capacity of up to 3,500 kg (4×75 cm) or 4,000 kg (4×90 cm) can now be equipped with the state-of-the-art AVR anti-erosion[Read More…]

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Japanese potato growers adopting modern cultivation practices

Japan faces a declining population and there is no doubt an aging trend in the Japanese society. In the agricultural sector, this trend is quite obvious: The average age of farmers in Japan was 66.6 in 2017. Furthermore, an influx of people into cities is a big problem. Many women used to work in the potato industry as laborers. But[Read More…]

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Fifth win for McCain potato growers in Britain

Farmers RS Bright & Sons of Woodmanton Farm, Sarnesfield celebrated their fifth win of the McCain Champion Potato Grower trophy at McCain Foods Ltd’s 50th anniversary event in York. The Bright family, who are members of the Central Hereford Integrated Potato Suppliers grower group, have been supplying potatoes farm to McCain for over a quarter of a century and cropped[Read More…]

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Coming to terms with Pythium leak in potatoes

Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist and consultant for the Ontario Potato Board in Canada, reports that Pythium leak has been showing its ugly face before harvest in a number of fields this year.  She says that symptoms of Pythium leak at the early infection stage are moist gray or brown lesions around wounds or near the stem end of tubers.[Read More…]

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China’s rural potato farmers embrace e-commerce

According to a report by China Global Television Network (CGTN), smallholder farmers in China’s northern Hebei Province are now enthusiastically taking part in an e-commerce program created by Mecai, a Beijing-based online fresh food supplier. The company started this program several years ago, creating its e-commerce platform as an answer to the State Council’s call to boost and innovate rural[Read More…]

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Hummingbird launches new high-tech irrigation tool in Australia

Hummingbird, an award winning artificial intelligence company based in the UK, is launching a new irrigation scheduling product in Australia. Hummingbird analyses imagery captured by satellites, planes, drones and robots to help farmers identify problems in their crops earlier and assist them with input optimization. Launched in 2015 and servicing hundreds of arable customers across 250,000 hectares in the UK,[Read More…]

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Fully booked INTERPOM | PRIMEURS event certainly worth a visit

INTERPOM | PRIMEURS, the indoor trade fair for the whole potato & vegetable sector in Europe, will take place from Sunday 25 to Tuesday 27 November 2018 at Kortrijk Xpo (Belgium). The trade fair is widely acclaimed as the largest indoor potato trade fair in the world where the entire chain is represented: from growing to processing and marketing. INTERPOM[Read More…]

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Space agency to deliver Big Data at the farm gate for potato growers

The drought that swept through Europe this year has hit European potato farmers hard when sustained high temperatures and the lack of rain badly affected the agrofood industry. Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) say their data and industry-directed services can help mitigate several challenges faced by the industry. According to ESA, it is not all doom and gloom for the potato industry. A[Read More…]

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Unique DNA soil test service alerts growers to pathogens

The Australian potato industry have invested during the past few years in the development of a unique soil test that extracts DNA – which allows for the determination of the presence and intensity of potato pathogens prior to planting. This service was developed and is provided by the South Australian Research  Development Institute (SARDI) to potato growers. Oppressive soil pathogens in Australian potato production regions include[Read More…]

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Prevention of insecticide resistance in Colorado Potato Beetles

A number of practical tips are provided to potato growers to prevent, rather than mitigate, the development of Colorado Potato Beetle insecticide resistance in a recent publication of the University of Maine in the US. The publication is authored by Associate Professor Andrei Alyokhin, Extension Professor James Dwyer, and Assistant Extension Professor Andrew Plant. The specialists say in the publication[Read More…]

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An app to smartly identify plant pests and diseases

Modern technology put to practical use for potato growers: A smartphone app (now also available online) developed by The James Hutton Institute in Scotland can help with disease identification in the field. Identifying potato diseases can be complex and difficult, as most potato growers and even experienced agronomists know very well. Enters a smartphone application developed in Scotland to ease the identification of potato[Read More…]

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Two potato farmers create UK’s first compostable crisp packet

Two Farmers, a new UK-based crisp brand, aims to redefine the snack sector with the launch of its artisan range of crisps in 100% compostable packaging. Potato farmers Sean Mason and Mark Green, from Herefordshire, have beaten the 2025 deadline for compostable packets set by potato snack giant Walkers, who recently faced a backlash over its non-recyclable packaging. The packets[Read More…]

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PepsiCo to expand network and promote sustainable farming in India

Snacks and beverages major PepsiCo plans to invest $5 million by 2020 to expand its sustainable farming programme in India. The company — which is the biggest buyer of chip-grade potato in the country — also plans to double its collaborative farming network for potato cultivation in India in the next five years. PepsiCo is working with over 24,000 farmers[Read More…]

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Irish potato grower diversifies into prize-winning gin

A Wexford, Ireland grower’s vision in using the humble spud as a key ingredient in a new gin paid off when Jackford Irish potato gin received a gold medal at the recent Irish whiskey awards. John Stafford, MD of Slaney Farm Produce, saw the opportunity to diversify into the increasingly popular gin market, harnessing the appeal of the potato. The move to[Read More…]

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Study: Precision farming a trend that keeps global innovation execs up at night

Lux Research is a provider of market intelligence solutions, helping global companies identify the tech innovation opportunities that drive growth. In a recent article, the company lists the “top innovation questions your peers are asking about in 2018”. Lux Research is of the opinion that the race is on for technologies that can lower initial costs and prove strong return[Read More…]

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Smartphone app offers a cheaper way to monitor crops with a drone

A new smartphone app offers farmers a cheaper and easier way to monitor their crops, simply with a mobile phone and a cheap drone. Developed by Northumbria-based Drone Ag in the UK, the Skippy Scout app will fly the farmer’s drone and collect high-resolution images at various points in the chosen field. Jack Wrangham, who founded Drone Ag with his brother[Read More…]

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How will precision agriculture feed the world?

By the year 2050, the world’s population is expected to hit 10 billion. Feeding that population will mean increasing global food production by 70 percent — without poisoning the world’s water supply with nitrates in the process and meeting rising demands for high food quality. That, in a nutshell, is the reason why agriculture needs to go digital, and in[Read More…]

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Jamaican govt promotes ‘climate-smart’ potato production

The Jamaican government has allocated around $100 million to give a boost to crop production of the island nation, in particular potatoes and onions. The minister made the disclosure while addressing stakeholders at the launch of the 2018/2019 Irish Potato Programme at the Christ Church in Christiana, Manchester, on October 4. Minister Shaw noted that the demand for table potatoes in Jamaica was[Read More…]

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Smart farming keeps Wisconsin potato operation on the leading edge

For Jeremie Pavelski, farming is a mountain of data waiting to be conquered. Every point of production, financial or logistical information can be aggregated and analyzed to create smart and well-calculated decisions. As president of Heartland Farms, Jeremie, 36, is combining two passions: agriculture and technology. The millennial leader is propelling his family’s 145-year-old farm in the US to be a cutting-edge[Read More…]

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