Farmers fervour for IT tools


7 December 2001



Farmers’ fervour for IT tools

By Tom Allen-Stevens

TOOLS that bring the farm office into the tractor have been welcomed by farmers taking part in a ground-breaking new IT project.

The 400,000 Teletractor project, part-funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, explores how farmers can make best use of the latest technology.

The project partners ADAS, Multimedia Design Studio and Peter Rickard Services, showed some of the progress so far to farmers at the Agrivision event.

“The aim is to bridge the gap between the technology that is available and the jobs farmers want it to do,” siad Neil Watson from ADAS IT Directive.

One such tool is the Nokia 9110 combined mobile phone, fax and e-mail, which is being tested by a group of farmers in Cornwall.

“Dont take it away from me – I use it all the time,” pleaded one of the test team.

Another gadget on test is a ruggedised combined mobile phone and two-way radio, found to be especially useful where mobile phone coverage is patchy.

Farmers have found them hard-wearing and useful for keeping in touch without incurring expensive call charges, said Mr Watson.

With six months of the project left, a new mobile phone which incorporates a video camera is about to go on test.

“Remote diagnosis of weeds, pests, and diseases, is set to become a feature of the future, and this tool should help,” said Mr Watson.

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