Author: Chris McCullough

Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and specialises in all aspects of agriculture. He has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. He has reported extensively from overseas, mostly throughout Europe but also from USA, Canada, India, Australia and African countries on various topics. He has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

Dutch agri-tech company Joz has just launched a new smart robot that works faster to ensure livestock have a fresh supply of feed at all times. Named the Moov 2.0 the latest piece of kit is a fully automatic feed pushing robot that is suitable for any barn. As well as keeping cattle fed during the day, the Moov 2.0 also works through the night while the farmer enjoys a good night’s sleep. As a result, the lower ranking cows can also access fresh feed 24/7 which can reduce selection and also helps to reduce tension in the herd as the…

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A NEW version of the software app Skippy Scout has been launched and is ten times faster than its predecessor. Agriculture software specialist Drone Ag has just introduced the Skippy Scout version 2.5, which it says is a big step forward and will save a lot of time with field management. The original Skippy app could fly a drone to scout points in a field five times faster than traditional crop walking. However, the new 2.5 version has more functionality and is ten times faster, enabling users to cover up to 25 acres in just five minutes. Skippy Scout 2.5 offers…

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With demand for more space travel rocketing NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have set a challenge for companies to develop novel food production methods that will endure longer flights, potentially to Mars. Together the space agencies have launched their Deep Space Food Challenge. In phase 1 NASA has put up US$500,000 as a prize fund to teams from the US, whilst the CSA has allocated CAD$300,000 in prizes for Canadian teams. The goal of the mission is for the teams to create novel and game-changing food technologies or systems that require minimal inputs and maximise safe, nutritious, and palatable food outputs for long-duration…

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Using gene editing to produce crops and livestock in England could get the thumbs up depending on the outcome of a consultation just launched by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Defra Secretary George Eustice launched the consultation at the virtual Oxford Farming Conference recognising that the technology could unlock substantial benefits to nature, the environment and help farmers with crops resistant to pests, disease or extreme weather and to produce healthier, more nutritious food. Although the practice is banned in the European Union, Brexit has offered up this opportunity for England to make its own decisions on…

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Video games experts have been drafted in to help dairy farmers and vets develop technology that can recognise a cow by its skin patterns and then pull up its health status. As part of the Innovate UK-funded SmARtview research project this unique partnership sees Agri-EPI Centre and UK Veterinary Group VetPartners join forces with experts at award-winning games developer Pocket Sized Hands and Abertay University’s School of Design & Informatics. The project aims to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that can recognise a cow by its skin patterns and use a ‘HoloLens’ Augmented Reality (AR) headset to display health…

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Massey Ferguson has just launched a new range of tractors that are packed with the latest smart technology to help farm businesses become more efficient. Designed for use on a variety of farms the new MF 5S series includes five models, MF 5S.105, MF 5S.115, MF 5S.125, MF 5S.135 and MF 5S.145, ranging from 105hp to 145hp. Each is powered by AGCO Power four cylinder 4.4 litre Stage V engines and comes in three different spec options – Essential, Efficient or Exclusive specifications. The latest smart farming technology on the 5S Series includes easy to use precision farming features like…

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An Israeli startup company that produces dairy products without needing any cows has secured multi-million dollar funding to follow its goals. Remilk has been backed by investors to the tune of $11.3 million to set its wheels in motion. Those investors include local food makers Tnuva, Tempo and Germany’s dairy manufacturer Hochland. The company uses a patented microbial fermentation process to create milk proteins that it then turns into a dried powder which can be used as the basis of a wide variety of authentic milk-based products. According to the company, the capital raised will enable it to “rapidly expand its…

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US tech company Monarch Tractor has launched the world’s first fully electric smart tractor with optional self-driving mode. Monarch Tractor says its latest development addresses the issues of labour shortages, sustainability and environmental concerns in one single vehicle. With several hundred new customers for the tractor already in the order book, the company says it has combined electrification, automation, machine learning, and data analysis to enhance farmer’s existing operations, increase labour productivity and safety, and maximise yields to cut overhead costs and emissions. Praveen Penmetsa, Monarch tractor co-founder and CEO, said: “Monarch Tractor is ushering in the digital transformation of farming…

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Walkers crisps are one of the largest buyers of British potatoes, the company sources almost 400,000 tonnes each year from eighty farms in the UK. Now, in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, new technology is being introduced to turn waste potato peel from their UK crisp factory in Leicester into a valuable fertiliser. Pepsico UK has joined forces with British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies to use their innovative carbon-capture technology on left over potato peelings. The material will be transformed into low-carbon fertiliser and returned to farms where potatoes for Walkers crisps are grown across the UK. Following a promising…

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EuroTier was cancelled in November to be held virtually in February 2021, but its traditional innovations awards were still announced at a virtual preview event last week. In total show organisers DLG made eight awards including one gold medal and seven silver medals from a total entry of 80 innovations. Two of the silver medals were presented to poultry products including automatic egg sexing technology and an egg sorting unit. SELEGGT Circulus sampling system Egg-laying chicken genotypes are considered unsuitable for producing poultry meat, due to lower product quality and cost effectiveness. For this reason the male chicks of these…

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