Funds to help precision farming reach the masses

An East Yorkshire farmer is one of a team of experts leading a project that aims to commercialise innovative precision farming technology and boost crop yields.

Andrew Manfield, founder of Sancton-based farm machinery importer, Manterra Ltd, is collaborating on the project with experts from the fields of applied research and academia at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) and Cranfield University with £1.4 million in co-funding from by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

It will see them spend three years researching unique fertiliser placement technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way farmers apply fertilizer to a range of field vegetables and combinable crops.

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Dr Chantel Davies, the project’s leader at STC, said: “The funding award from Innovate UK will enable us to combine a range of novel engineering solutions in a very practical way.

“Cranfield University has a firmly-established reputation for high-level research in soil science and precision agriculture; Manterra Ltd possesses cutting-edge and highly innovative farming equipment. By bringing together these key elements we are able to conduct large-scale field trials across a range of soil types and demonstrate the efficacy of the system.”

Mr Manfield added: “This is a very exciting project. We have the potential to vary the nutrients on crops metre by metre and bed by bed, with an accuracy that is previously unheard of on a commercial level of practice.”

Philip Effingham of Greentech Consultancy Ltd is a subcontractor on the project, providing agronomic advice on the field vegetables.