Dec 23rd 2020

All I want for Christmas, is sustainable agritech

It is highly presumptive of me to assume that I can imagine what all farmers would want for Christmas. So, I have put this blog together with a certain theme in mind – one that is very close to the hearts of lots of people this year: sustainability.

At the end of November, it was announced that the Government had unveiled a path to sustainable farming from 2021. A roadmap to a better, fairer farming system, outlining changes that are planned to come into force over the next seven years to help farmers across the UK adapt and plan for the future. From next year, the roadmap will lead Britain’s farming in steps to improve the environment and animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

This is great news for the environment. But it is also compensation from the UK’s fallout from Europe, a result of Brexit. From next year, UK farmers will begin to move away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which is the biggest of the European Union’s rural grants and payments to support farming.

But I digress. Before we see out 2020, it is the Christmas holiday season! And with new technology continuously evolving to support farmers in their plight to feed our growing population, as efficiently and sustainably as possible, I have put together this following ‘wish list’ for a sustainable agritech future:

An app that identifies diseased plants, and provides information on weather predictions: aptly named, AgriPredict

Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, this mobile app helps rural farmers access timely agricultural information about their yield. By simply taking a picture of the suspected diseased crop, the AI system will provide an on-demand diagnosis, options for treatment, and if required, details and location of the nearest agro-dealer.

BeeFree’s autonomous drone, JOE, to support the moving of free-range livestock

As pointed out by BeeFree, innovation and precision technology have changed nearly every segment of agriculture, except for free-range livestock. Currently, other animals (such as sheepdogs and horses), vehicles, and manpower, are used to move livestock which can result in physical wear and tear (and sometimes, injury), as well as undue stress on the animals. By using drones such as JOE, farmers can afford to reduce labour costs, and benefit from happier, healthier livestock.

A fully electric smart tractor with optional self-driving mode, by Monarch

Launched in December 2020, Monach’s latest development claims to address issues around labour shortages, environmental concerns, and sustainability, all in one single vehicle. With no tailpipe emissions due to it running entirely on electric, this tractor can also act as a powerful generator in the field. For context, one traditional diesel tractor produces around 14x the emissions as the average car. In addition to its environmentally-friendly output, this farm vehicle also boasts unprecedented safety (roll and collision prevention; 360-degree cameras), and has a deep learning and sensing suite to collect and analyse crop data for really smart farming.

An emission-reducing headcollar for cows, from ZELP

I have a confession with this one: the technology is still pre-launch. However, the wearable device – quite literally a headcollar for cows – not only neutralises methane exhaled by bovine herds in real time, but it records valuable statistical data on the animals such as providing insights for effective insemination and identifying welfare issues such as illness. Once launched, Zelp offers several benefits to farmers such as increased animal wellbeing and the ability to certify reduced emissions livestock.

If you’re an agritech company looking to boost visibility among your core target market, and you’d like to speak with Babel about how a communications strategy could support you in reaching and engaging that audience, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Jen Atkinson
Jen Atkinson SENIOR CAMPAIGN MANAGER