Practical measures for harnessing cutting edge technology on farms were on the agenda at a high-level conference organised by Anthea McIntyre MEP.
 
Experts from a range of scientific, engineering, and agricultural disciplines gathered in Ross-on-Wye to discuss how advances in areas such as big data, precision farming and robotics can be converted into greater productivity, sustainability and profitability for farmers and growers.
 
Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative Agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, convened the conference at the Royal Hotel to consider the next steps needed following her parliamentary report on Tech logical Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture.
 
She said: “Policy-makers, academia and industry, breeders, the agro-chemicals sector, farmers and food manufacturers must all work together to improve the translation of research into practice. From lab to farm to fork.
 
“We need to make sure politicians and governments properly understand the imperative to let expertise and experience feed through into real advances in breeding, tools, techniques.”
 
Sessions covered issues including conservation farming, genetic modification and gene editing, genetic diversity and crop wild relatives, innovation and plant protection.
 
Expert speakers included Professor Pat Heslop-Harrison of Leicester University, Dr Nigel Maxted of Birmingham University, Dr Nicola Cannon of the Royal Agriculture University, Dr Rosemary Collier of Warwick Crop Centre, John Chinn of the Centre for Crop Health and Protection and Jon Knight of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.