Arable Horizons

Interactive talks exploring tomorrow’s farming technology

Agriculture and innovation go hand in hand. For centuries the adoption of new approaches and technologies, from selective breeding and more powerful machinery to chemical fertilisers and high-yielding crops, have enabled farmers to reduce costs and boost production. But what will technology for the farm of tomorrow look like?

In a series of five expert-led events, Farmers Weekly will examine some of the most exciting and innovative research fields that are set to revolutionise UK agriculture over the next two decades and beyond.

From robot-assisted farming to gene-edited crops, these interactive talks will explore how developments in these fields could deliver higher yields and cheaper production, while also bringing a greener and more stable future for British agriculture.

Developments in crop breeding and genetics

Some of the research projects currently in the crop breeding pipeline include vegetables immune to powdery mildew, wheat tailored to your land, and crops with superior photosynthetic abilities.

Gene editing, which allows precision tweaking of specific plant and animal genes, promises big gains for agriculture and possibly without the same degree of opposition that greeted earlier ‘gene swapping’ techniques.

Find out how advances in crop breeding and gene editing could improve the lives of UK farmers in the first talk of this Arable Horizons series.

Date: 17 November 2016
Time: 17.30 – 21.00
Location: Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire
Speaker: Dr Alison Bentley, director of Genetics and Breeding, NIAB

The future for UK soil science

Soil is the foundation on which every arable farmer builds their business. This Arable Horizons talk lifts the lid on the innovations set to deliver the much-needed advances in soil science and technology.

Find out how developments such as new sampling techniques, fresh approaches to tilling and advanced soil management strategies could limit degradation and make the future of farming more secure.

Date: 26 January 2017
Time: 17.30 – 20.30
Location: Rothamsted Research Centre, Harpenden
Speaker: Professor Wilfred Otten, Professor of Soil Biophysics, Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute

Robotics, automation and associated technologies

GPS-guided combine harvesters and advanced analytical software are already an important part of many farmers technological toolkit.

But with weed-zapping and fruit-picking bots already on the horizon, what advancements in agricultural robotics will be improving the lives of UK farmers further into the future?

In this talk you will discover how robots and other novel technologies will make UK farming more efficient than ever, while reducing the cost of labour and pesticides.

Date: 26 April 2017
Location: National Space Centre, Leicester

What next for biocontrol?

Although bacteria-based pesticides date back to the 1920s, the role of microbes in farming is set to reach new heights in the coming years thanks to huge research investments.

From pest-busting bacteria to supercharged crop growth, the science of biocontrol is seeking to use beneficial insects and microbes in ways that could improve yields and reduce loses from pests and disease. Find out more in this Arable Horizons interactive talk.

Date: TBA
Time: 17.30 – 20.30

Exploiting climate change for UK farmers

One of the biggest challenges set to impact farmers in the future is the changing climate. Scientists have predicted increasingly long and hot summers and milder, shorter winters for UK farmers.

How can we exploit these changes as opportunities? Longer, more productive growing seasons? Growing more speciality crops? This lecture will examine the implications of a changing climate for British agriculture, what it means for what we grow and how we grow it, and a look at the pioneering research projects facilitating this adaptation.

Date: 22 June 2017
Location: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge

For general enquiries, please contact the team.