Regen ag can pull a farm apart

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  • Good, robust data puts the farmer in control and allows better informed decisions on the agri-tech innovation that will help their business progress

Farmers are in danger of allowing a leap into regenerative agriculture and precision technology will pull their business out of shape.

That was the warning given to the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund by Senior Managing Director of Trinity AgTech Richard Williamson.

Speaking as a panellist at ECBF’s AgTech Deep Dive, Richard said encouragement should be given to technologies that enable farmers to take a holistic approach in how they adopt innovation.

“Regenerative agriculture is part of the landscape going forward but taken on its own can pull a business out of shape,” he said. “The danger is that farmers are rejecting current practice without robust data to inform their decisions.”

While precision technology can provide solutions, maintaining soil health should remain at the heart of all agricultural businesses. “New technology cannot come in at the expense of the fundamentals of good management,” said Richard.

The ECBF invests in and partners with entrepreneurs to accelerate late-stage circular bioeconomy companies. With a target size of €250 million, to which the European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed €100 million, it’s an important financial instrument in achieving the European Green Deal goals of making Europe climate neutral by 2050.

The Deep Dive brought together a number of key partner organisations to explore ways in which agri-tech and precision farming solutions can help farmers meet these targets while capturing opportunities in carbon and natural capital markets.

“In the UK, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) has blunted the effect innovation can have on ensuring progress for farming businesses,” said Richard.

“We currently have an analogue system where so much of the value created on farm is captured and consumed by intermediaries between the farmgate and the end customer.

“As BPS falls away, the opportunity is to move to a digital system. But if farmers are to take more control and to capture back the value they deserve from the market, they need the data on their farm and access to it that is easy to use.”

Sandy by Trinity AgTech is a new simple-to-use digital assistant that allows farmers to accurately and independently assess their farm’s sustainability. It will help them plan their path to greater profitability, provide robust provenance for their produce and capitalise on the natural assets they care for.

Among Sandy’s core tools are carbon footprint and biodiversity assessments; it manages and optimises livestock feed strategy; there’s management at a subfield level, monitoring crop performance, growth, nutrient status and yield prediction; Sandy analyses productivity and financial performance at farm, crop and field level.

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