Event underlines technical imperative

Belinda Clarke, left, director of Agri-Tech East on a farm talking to farm staff.

Belinda Clarke, left, director of Agri-Tech East on a farm talking to farm staff. - Credit: Archant

Farmers will be grappling with the technical imperative driving their sector at a series of events focusing on technological innovation, including one at Ipswich.

St Osyth Farmer Guy Smith.

St Osyth Farmer Guy Smith. - Credit: Archant

Innovation for Agriculture East is set to take place at Trinity Park from 1pm on Tuesday, November 11.

Use of technology to improve on-farm efficiency and the management of water resources are two of the themes for the re-jigged Suffolk Agri-Tech Week 2014 event, which will be focusing on issues including the smart use of inputs as a means of increasing farms’ resilience.

The event, held in association with FramFarmers, is part of a week-long series of events from November 8 to 16 showcasing and debating issues around the East of England’s agricultural research, practice and business.

Robert Rous, chair of Suffolk Agriculture Association, said: “With a keynote lecture by National Farmers’ Union (NFU) vice president Guy Smith, this event is an opportunity for farmers and technologists to take part in debates and discussions about the importance of new technologies, how to maximise the benefit of new innovations and how to make sure new technologies meet the needs of farmers.

“In addition, we will also be discussing the critical importance of an integrated approach to water management and what a 25 year plan for water for agriculture in the east of England should look like.”

Guy, who farms at St Osyth, added: “Although farming seems to becoming a highly is speculative occupation with increasing volatility in commodity markets and weather patterns, there remains one constant, that being the technical imperative.

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“Farmers must always stay alert to technical developments in order to build robustness into their businesses. That’s why I’m looking forward to this event Suffolk Agricultural Association have put together at Trinity Park.”

Agri-Tech East director Dr Belinda Clarke will be supporting a workshop at the Suffolk event with Mark Bowyer, head of farming at ProduceWorld.

“This is an opportunity to like-minded people to work together to help influence policy-making and the strategic directions of research and cluster development in the east of England,” she said.

The second workshop ‘Water in Agriculture: Managing Future Water Needs’ will look at the considerations for a 25 year plan to secure water for agriculture. The facilitators will include Martin Collison, Collison & Associated Ltd, Ruth Welters, Agri-Tech Water Cluster, University of East Anglia (UEA) and Steve Dorling of Weatherquest.

The week’s events also include a Norwich-based thought leadership seminar organised by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, with the presence of HRH the Earl of Wessex.

A Cambridge-based REAP (Realising our Economic and Agricultural Potential) conference organised by Agri-Tech East includes a Start-Up Showcase where early stage agri-tech businesses will present elevator pitches.

On Friday, November 14, the Barker family’s farm at Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, will be officially launched as an HGCA Monitor Farm.

More details of the events can be found at http://www.agritech-east.co.uk/agri-tech-week-2014/