It has been twenty years since the first event was held in the UK and the conference in 2017 will give the rapidly changing sector the chance to show how much precision agriculture has moved on. The conference is expected to cover crop and soil proximal sensing, advances in precision horticulture, precision crop protection, UAV and satellite sensing, economics and practical adoption, managing data analysis and data support systems, spatial and variability mapping and robotics for precision agriculture.

The event arrives at the ideal time; the global precision farming market is forecast to hit £2.3 billion by 2018, and in the UK the precision agriculture supply industry could be well positioned to both exploit this global potential and provide the tools to enhance sustainability in our own primary production sector.

The 10th ECPA held in Israel just last month saw 350 agricultural researchers descend on The Volcani Center in Tel Aviv, the largest agricultural public research centre in Israel, and Edinburgh can expect to attract a similar number of delegates, all keen to share their research and insights.

Jim Wilson, Managing Director of SoilEssentials Ltd, who led the bid team on the ground said: “I have personally attended the last nine ECPA meetings and am delighted to welcome the ECPA to my home country. Bringing the 2017 conference to the UK, and in particular Scotland, for the 20th anniversary year is an amazing opportunity to show advances in  precision agriculture, both in research and equipment in daily use on farms. SoilEssentials supports this conference because in Edinburgh, and indeed throughout the UK, we have a unique range of plant and animal science institutes, and innovative UK government research funding initiatives to ensure ground-breaking commercial research is transferred to practical on farm applications.”

Professor Geoff Simm, Head of Research at SRUC, the lead academic host, said: “We are delighted to have acted as academic partner in putting this bid together and look forward to being home host in Edinburgh in 2017. Being part of the winning team shows how SRUC’s strength and reputation is growing in the precision agriculture. We are grateful to our UK collaborators at Cranfield, Harper Adams and Newcastle Universities in providing their support and look forward to working with them and other partners and sponsors to make the 2017 conference a success.”

The bid was backed by the Agri-Tech Organisation of UK Trade & Investment – the government department that supports UK based companies in international markets and overseas investors looking to the UK as an investment destination.

Clive Blacker, Precision Agriculture Specialist at UK Trade and Investment sees the awarding of the event as a huge vote of confidence in Edinburgh and the UK to deliver a world class event for the global precision agriculture industry. He said: “The UK’s research base has been in the vanguard of many new developments and instrumental in securing this prestigious event for Edinburgh. These are exciting times for precision agriculture and the UK has a real opportunity to showcase our expertise and its impact to a global audience.”

24 August 2015 News

Hugh Black, J & R Black
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