Farming is seen to be entering a new era of development in which engineering and associated innovation is opening new dimensions of support and intervention. Growth in urbanisation and the need for new ideas to meet the global challenges of food provision is also increasing attention to new technologies and solutions.
Emphasis on increasing efficiency, productivity and innovative approaches to future food security needs, alongside attention to the environmental need for reducing our carbon footprint, are clearly adding to this new era of farming challenges. ‘Smart’, in the context of smart integrated farming, is a term that is now being applied to these evolving technological drivers.
Core to these developments are sensors, measurement and the associated generation of data. They are fundamental to any sector of industry, with agriculture being no exception. Development of agricultural systems and practice are dependent upon these basic tenets of commercial underpinning, with precision agriculture extending this dependency on sensing and measurement. Commercial competitiveness and progress are geared to effective application of this practice, requiring careful attention to technical, financial and application needs – a complexity of considerations.
As a result of our first Sensors and Measurement workshop, held in March this year, the Satellite Applications Catapult, alongside The National Centre for Precision Farming at Harper Adams University, has launched an interest group that can assist in unraveling the complexities within farming, and reveal incentives for engagement and routes to profitability through greater attention to sensing and quality-assured measurement.
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