SoilEssentials are developing cutting-edge technology across various R&D projects. These projects are supported by Innovate UK and the European Space Agency in collaboration with UK universities, research institutes and commercial companies.
Two of our R&D projects have recently completed;
Tuberzone – this project delivered a crop model for producers to help predict yield and tuber size in seed and salad potatoes.
Grassvision – This project was responding to the challenge to reduce herbicide application on grassland. The project consortium achieved the aim to access the feasibility of detecting broad leaved weeds in grassland and spot spraying. Results showed 99.4% accuracy was possible using a convolutional neural network. We have successful in a recent project application to Innovate UK to extend and commercialize Grassvision. See SKAi project details below.

We are continuously seeking project partners to push the boundaries in Precision Agriculture and related industries. By bringing together the right people incredible things can happen.

Insights into current projects are below;

Innovation & Collaboration


SoilEssentials have been leading the project in the development of a novel biosensor system for detection of potato late blight in the field.

The project is heading into its last few months are therefore we are in the final stages of ‘proof of concept’ on the sensor with various tests and trials taking place at our partner university.

At the end of the trials we aim to have established a unique ballistic signature for a single sporangium within a mixed stream of particles.

We are also simultaneously developing new, on-line blight prediction software for agronomists and farmers.


SoilEssentials are the lead partners in an innovative project that is evaluating soil quality using biological measurements. We’re aiming to launch a service which revolutionises soil sampling and supports long-term good soil management.

During the project 432 fields have been soil sampled resulting in 3228 soil chemistry samples, 3228 nematode samples and 1010 soil physics samples.

The soils go through the familiar routine analysis (pH, P & K) and are categorised by soil type, soil physics and field history. The James Hutton Institute have developed a unique means of measuring soil biology so that it, when combined with the other analyses, can be used as a measure of soil quality and potential crop yield.

The project is in the final stages of analysis on the data results from the soil samples.

New! SKAi

The SoilEssentials KORE Artificial intelligence platform. A re-trainable smart camera vision system for agriculture. SKAi builds on the InnovateUK feasibility study project of GrassVision which successfully developed a low-cost machine vision system to recognise and precision apply herbicides to broad leaved weeds in grassland.

There is an urgent agronomic (reducing the amount of plant protection products applied to crops), environmental (pollution reduction), economic (lowering the cost of food production) and political (continuing public pressure for a reduction in ag-chem use) need to modernise and update agrochemical applications to crops from the traditional practice of applying a uniform rate across the whole crop to a much more targeted approach. Through project SKAi, SoilEssentials aims to satisfy this need by building a smart camera and artificial intelligence platform for use by farmers, agronomists and agrochemical applicators.

This platform will be integrated into the existing KORE ( precision farming platform to extend its functionality to allow the support of in-field smart cameras using image transfer and machine learning. Using this system, we hope to dramatically reduce the total amount of crop protection products applied to crops in the UK and worldwide.

Project starts 1st April 2019.

New! 5G RuralFirst

SoilEssentials are a partner in this UK government sponsored programme. The 5GRuralFirst project aims to ensure that when 5G is rolled out it will deliver the requirements of rural communities.

5G is not just faster than 4G, it is heavily weighted towards reliability, coverage and fast simultaneous connections. A 5G network should cover 95% of the UK’s geography versus the current 67% coverage.  Projects to demonstrate the 5G network are underway to exploit the massive opportunities for improved connectivity offered to rural business by the next generation of mobile signal. A reliable connectivity will mean that new technologies can be developed with confidence – technologies like autonomous vehicles connected to a central hub, drones sharing data in real time etc.

SoilEssentials are participating in a use case in Shropshire which will demonstrate the transfer of crop images from a drone to cloud using 5G. Following the successful initial bench test the drone flight took place in February.

We are also conducting a survey to collate data to show the potential economic benefit of 5G and how valuable it would be to the rural community.

Talk to us about our research projects and opportunities

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