The UK government has committed a share of £9.13m to carry out research and development (R&D) on proposals to boost agricultural productivity, sustainability and climate resilience.
Some of the projects benefiting from the funding include robotic crop harvesting for horticulture, an autonomous system to change cows’ bedding to improve their health, welfare and productivity and a more environmentally-friendly approach to potato cultivation.
What’s more, the three projects are being supported through the Large R&D Partnership competition, which is part of the government’s £270m Farming Innovation Programme
A second round of the competition is currently open for applications.
Mark Spencer, farming minister, said: ‘It’s important that we fund projects like these – and those still to come in future rounds – as we support farmers to deliver sustainable food production and protect the environment. Innovation, research and development will help keep the sector at the cutting edge of technology as we look into the future.”
The funding announcement aligns with the government’s commitment to spend approximately £600m on grants to support farmers to invest in productivity, animal health and welfare, innovation and R&D over the next three years.
Financial support for this programme will come from the £2.4bn of the annual farming budget, which will remain at its current level until the end of this Parliament.
Some of the grants issued will be used to help deliver long-term sustainable food production and support farmers to stop and reverse the decline of natural resources.