Author: Christine Horton

Christine writes about technology’s impact on business, and is a long-term contributor to specialist IT titles including Channel Pro and Microscope. She also writes for Raconteur and is regularly featured in The Times and Sunday Times.

NEC has updated its agricultural ICT platform, CropScope, that it says helps resolve challenging farming issues. CropScope, which NEC has been operating with Kagome since April 2020, uses sensors and satellite photographs to visualise the growth status of tomatoes and the condition of soils. It also offers a service that provides farming advice using artificial intelligence (AI). The AI uses knowledge from cultivators to provide guidance on things like the optimum amount of water, fertiliser and the best time to apply them. This enables tomato producers, regardless of skill level, to stabilise their harvests and reduce cultivation costs, while implementing…

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Hungary’s Széchenyi István University and Spanish IoT specialist Libelium have developed Hungary’s first smart agriculture laboratory. Funded by the European Union and the Hungarian Government, the Field Monitoring Laboratory is situated in Mosonmagyaróvár, in western Hungary, and covers more than 400 hectares of land, making it one of the largest ‘smart farms’ in Europe. In Hungary, agriculture accounts for 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP and plays an important role in rural development. In 2018, Hungary produced 7.9 million tons of corn, making it the 15th largest producer in the world. However, climate challenges and variations in soil quality mean that…

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Headquartered in Zaragoza, in north-eastern Spain, Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Libelium is making waves in the world of smart agriculture. Founded in 2006 by Alicia Asín Pérez, the company’s solutions seek to monitor and improve the efficiency of everything from agricultural crops to water quality management around the world. Libelium’s technology is even currently being used above the tomb of Tutankhamun to collect climatic data – relative humidity, temperature – and measure fracture aperture behaviour above the tomb. Focused on using digital technology for environmental and sustainability purposes, Alicia Asín became the first Spanish woman to win the National…

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Satellite-controlled pumps and machinery bring next level monitoring of water supplies to rural farms across Australia Australian farmers will be able to manage water storage and supplies in real time thanks to a new service being rolled out that combines mobile satellite technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). The service will be provided by satellite provider Inmarsat, IoT vendor to the agricultural industry Farmbot Monitoring Solutions (Farmbot), and Pivotel, an Australian supplier of mobile satellite services. The agreement follows Australia’s driest year on record in 2019. It will enable farmers anywhere in Australia to remotely monitor water tanks, dams and…

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Nine UK companies receive £24 million package from the Government to establish a more efficient system of food production A project in Nottingham that converts carbon dioxide into clean animal feed is one of nine pioneering agricultural technology projects set to benefit from £24 million of government funding. Nottingham-based consortium REACT-FIRST will receive more than £2 million to generate clean, sustainable food for fish and poultry with an up to 75 percent smaller carbon footprint. Led by Nottingham company Deep Branch Biotechnology, the project will use its technology to turn carbon dioxide from Drax Power’s Selby power station into animal…

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Norwegian seafood producers to use IBM blockchain technology for greater transparency and sustainability in seafood production IBM and Sjømatbedriftene, the Norwegian Seafood Association, have teamed with IT provider Atea on a new cross-industry collaboration to use blockchain technology to share supply chain data throughout Norway’s seafood industry. Their aim is to provide safer, better seafood to consumers worldwide, eliminate waste and combat mislabeling of supplies. Espen Braathe of IBM’s Food Trust Europe Executive tells Food & Farming Technology that farmed fish is facing a crisis of confidence. “Despite the many benefits of maintaining a sustainable food source, consumers are still…

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UK firm says cold chain IoT platform extends shelf life and increases the supply of perishable foods for consumption A UK company is claiming it has developed an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that can help in the fight against global hunger. Milton Keynes-based IMS Evolve has developed tech for the ‘cold chain’ – commercial fridge and freezers – which collects and manages huge volumes of data generated across the network. This data, it says, then enables retailers to optimise their processes to significantly extend shelf life and increase the supply of perishable foods for consumption. “The US Department of Agriculture reports…

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As customers demand greater assurance about the products they buy, more food producers are turning to blockchain technology to provide detailed supply chain information Transparency and traceability have never been more important to consumers when it comes to food. At the same time, farmers, producers and retailers are under pressure to minimise waste and ensure food safety and freshness – while looking to unlock supply chain efficiencies and boost the bottom line. The good news is there have been huge technological advances in this area within the last couple of years. One of the most notable developments has been IBM’s…

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Firms urge industry players to collaborate on farm and field data IBM is urging the food and agriculture industry to work together to improve collaboration around farm and field data. Joining with Yara International, a specialist in crop nutrition and digital farming solutions, IBM is launching The Open Farm & Field Data Exchange, which aims to encourage farming associations, food and agriculture industry players, academia and NGOs to share their data. The company says sharing data allows farmers to receive higher value services, and they can be paid in return for sharing their data. It could also potentially make it easier…

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REBO smart water bottle uses blockchain to fund marine plastic waste collection A smart water bottle that claims to clean the planet as you drink has been launched on crowd funding platform Indiegogo. Manufacturer REBO says unlike other bottles that provide a one-off sum on sales of the bottle to environmental charities, its built-in technology means that every sip “creates credits”, resulting in plastic collection and job creation in developing countries. “REBO enables people to make real change on an individual basis by bringing together people’s passion for the planet and advanced product technology” says Pier Andrea Quatra, REBO’s founder. “We…

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