Event Sets Focus for Future R&D in UK Agriculture

UK - Research, development and knowledge exchange experts gathered to discuss priorities and develop lasting collaborative partnerships, to drive innovation and improvement in UK agriculture.
calendar icon 27 July 2017
clock icon 3 minute read


More than 60 representatives from leading universities, veterinary groups and research centres attended the event, organised by AHDB, near Nottingham, on 20 July.

AHDB has identified six specific areas ranging from realising genetic potential to honing business and technical skills, which will provide increased focus for future work.

AHDB Chief Executive Jane King said: "With seismic changes going on globally, we are entering a defining time for UK agriculture and horticulture. It’s a time when we face challenges, but there are also many opportunities.

"Working with our partners to develop shared research and knowledge exchange goals, we can pull together and drive changes, which will build a world-class agricultural industry."

Using feedback from farmers and growers, the AHDB has already invested millions in world leading research projects – helping to develop solutions and find alternatives to antibiotics, improve animal health and welfare, and increase resistance to disease across all agricultural and horticultural sectors.

To shape the discussion, delegates heard feedback direct from farmers and growers.

Beef and Lamb Farmer Paul Westaway, who supplies some of the UK’s largest supermarkets, said: "When we first took on our farm, we arrived with a pitch fork and a pinch of knowledge about the market.

"Working with the AHDB and industry experts, we have developed our farm into a productive part of a global supply chain.

"Today, I am able to tell my customers exactly why my cattle are healthy and comfortable – using technology to track precisely what they’re eating, their temperature and more.

"Whatever the future may hold, I feel confident that the focused priorities will allow the agricultural industry to up its game for the challenges ahead."

AHDB Chief Technical Officer Richard Laverick said: "To harness and focus the collective wisdom of the agricultural and horticultural industry, we are expanding our network of monitor and strategic farms through our new Farm Excellence Platform.

"Experience shows us farmer to farmer learning is a powerful way to engage producers and encourage adoption of new ideas.

"We now have a focused plan to enable farmers and growers to accelerate their pace of change, sharing knowledge together to make sure that British produce is fit for the future and able to compete in a global marketplace."

The six key drivers of productivity are: realising genetic potential, building sustainable plant and animal health, managing resources efficiently and sustainably, driving precision technology into practice, facilitating trusted food in the supply chain, and honing business and technical skills.

Within the AHDB Knowledge Exchange programme, engagement with levy payers and industry supply chains via events and discussions groups is a vital strand of work.

In a typical year, AHDB delivers over 500 technical workshops or farm events and teams engage regularly with more than 170 discussion and business groups.

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