AgTech to play a vital role in the agri-food sector

Industry leaders discussing the future of agriculture called on the sector to embrace technology and share knowledge during the UK leg of the Alltech ONE Ideas Forum.

Held in Birmingham on 19 October 2018, the event attracted over 140 delegates, all keen to gain insight into the latest trends, developments and mindsets in agriculture.

Dr Mark Lyons, Alltech president and chief executive, opened the session by discussing the diversity of the industry and the opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas between farming sectors, including aquaculture.

“While agriculture is currently the least digitalised sector, ag-tech investment is picking up fast,” said Dr Lyons. “It needs to be utilised in a way that helps protect nature, produces energy and meets growing consumer demands.”

Speaking on the technological opportunities available, Dr Marc Larousse, vice president of business development at Alltech, showcased how collaborative learning is helping bridge the gap between agriculture and technology.

From drones and artificial intelligence, to robots and virtual reality, his session explored the range of options that agricultural businesses could develop and utilise, both now and in the future.

Matthew Smith, vice president of Alltech, discussed some specific technologies already making a difference, including InTouch.

“Ag-tech should facilitate communication and allow us to move beyond one-dimensional relationships to engage with all stakeholders in the supply chain.

“InTouch is a live review and support service, which is helping measure, monitor and manage feeding programmes,” said Smith. “It features advice from trained specialists to ensure performance, quality and sustainability in our agri-food supply chain.”

Speaking after the conference, Fergal McAdam, general manager for Alltech UK, said the session provided an opportunity to look to the future.

“We live in an era of rapid uncertainty, but what today allowed for was the opportunity to look ahead to the ‘farm of the future’ and demonstrated the vital role innovation and technology are going to play in the agri-food sector,” concluded McAdam.

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