Whether to meet climate change targets, drive efficiency or improve profitability, technology has an ever-increasing role to play in UK agriculture.
Herefordshire is home to a range of successful, diverse agricultural businesses and technology has a role to play in almost all of them. From the milk pumped via robot milking tech to the neatly planted crops you see on your commute, planted and harvested using precision GPS techniques, it is at the forefront of a modern farming enterprise.
Farmers are increasingly using technology to keep their use of chemicals and fertilisers down – when they can be applied with greater accuracy, less is used. This obviously has both financial benefits and environmental impacts too. Yield mapping means more efficient use of land and the ability to plan ahead.
Robotics is coming into its own for one of the county’s major growth areas – soft fruit – especially as labour availability and costs have caused problems recently. Pickers are increasingly scarce, hitting productivity; looking into robotic pickers may make good financial sense in the long term.
Is the business sustainable, to make it worth the investment in the tech? Tech won’t save a struggling business, but it can enhance a going concern.
What will the return on your investment be? Work out the payback period as well as the cost of the initial investment to ensure that the business can support it.