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Digital farming: Hartpury’s trailblazing Agri-Tech Centre

Hartpury University and Hartpury College are among the UK’s leading specialist education providers in agriculture, animal, equine, sport, and veterinary…

Hartpury Agricultural Tech

Hartpury University and Hartpury College are among the UK’s leading specialist education providers in agriculture, animal, equine, sport, and veterinary nursing.

Ben Thompson, manager of Hartpury’s trailblazing Agri-Tech Centre, explains the latest in its growing portfolio of digital-first initiatives in this article first published in Issue 7 of our magazine, Lodders Life.

Agri-Tech Centre

Located in Gloucestershire, Hartpury University and Hartpury College’s 360-hectare campus includes the Agri-Tech Centre that provides farmers, students, and organisations with access to the latest commercial technology.

Opened in 2020 by NFU President Minette Batters, the Centre’s key focus is on the latest smart farming techniques available to the agricultural industry, and aims to support farming businesses to increase productivity and profitability through knowledge transfer and practical demonstration.

Digital Farming Network

The Agri-Tech Centre’s newest initiative is the Hartpury Digital Farming Network. A community for and led by farmers, the network is free and open to any farming business with no restriction on location, size, or sector.

It has been created and set up to further improve the connection between innovation, technology development, and commercial farming practice. It enables farming businesses to be kept up-to-date with the latest news from the Agri-Tech Centre, and have the opportunity to play an active part in applied research into on-farm challenges, by trialing and testing the latest agri-technologies.

The network has six lead representatives for the dairy, beef, arable, horticulture, pig, and sheep sectors. As well as being a part of the Digital Farming Network, these lead farming representatives – all successful farmers in their own right – share their views on the latest challenges and changes within their specialist farming sector, and provide valuable insight to help steer the progress of technology and innovation. Together, they represent a much needed, highly valued resource that helps ensure the latest technological solutions are meeting and overcoming real world challenges.

Internet tech

As an Internet of Things (IoT) demonstration site, they have distributed sensors across the Hartpury Agriculture campus, to showcase the full potential and capabilities of internet-connected technologies as part of the wider IoT network and its use within the agriculture sector.

Cream of the crop

The Hartpury commercial farm is proud of one of its most recent successes. It was crowned winner of the Youngstock Health and Welfare category at the prestigious 2021 Cream Awards organised by British Dairying magazine. In particular, this serves to shine a spotlight on and recognise the hard work and high standards of Hartpury’s students and farm staff.

Find out more about Hartpury University & Hartpury College: www.hartpury.ac.uk

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