Director of LIAT on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today

The University’s Director of LIAT, Professor Simon Pearson, was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today to introduce a week of programmes shining a spotlight on agri-technology.

Farming Today is the UK’s foremost radio show for farmers and food producers.

Professor Pearson, who leads the Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology, featured on the programme on Monday 21st January 2019 to discuss the future of farming and the ‘fourth agricultural revolution’.

From robot pickers and smart water management systems to precision pest control and big data collection, Professor Pearson explains how artificial intelligence can help to improve farming systems. He details new Lincoln research which is exploring how to connect whole supply chains and explains how new technology can help to recognise patterns emerging in the massive amounts of data collected on farms.

The programme is available to listen to again online via BBC Sounds: (Professor Pearson’s interview begins at 3:10)

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LIAT Welcomes Quantitative Ecologist to Multi-Disciplinary Team

We are delighted to welcome Quantitative Ecologist and Lecturer, Dr Shaun Coutts, to our growing team of academics and researchers.

Dr Coutts uses a wide range of statistical and data driven approaches to tackle pressing agricultural issues such as weeds and pests and evolution of resistance. His work encompasses a wide range of topics, such as population dynamics, agronomy, dispersal ecology, optimisation and social-economic systems.

Find out more about our research disciplines online

Cultivating Ideas for Brexit and the Future of Farming at LFC2019

LIAT are thrilled to sponsor the annual Lincolnshire Farming Conference on Tuesday 26th February 2019.

Hosted at the iconic Lincolnshire Showground, we will also be exhibiting and welcome all visitors to our stand – come and chat with our friendly researcher team and hear about the ag-related projects they’re working on to aid the future of farming.

A programme of events can be found here.

The Lincolshire Showground released a press statement about the upcoming event:

“Brexit and agriculture over the next 150 years will be key talking points at the next Lincolnshire Farming Conference, to be held on Tuesday 26 February 2019 at the Lincolnshire Showground.

As the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society celebrates its 150th year in 2019, the major theme of the upcoming conference will be ‘for the next 150 years’ – discussing, and debating, how far the industry has come and what’s next for the sector.

Robert Borrill, chairman of the Lincolnshire Farming Conference Committee, said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating 150 years of the Society in 2019. With Lincolnshire being one of the biggest agricultural counties it is great to be able to bring the local farming community together with leading international experts to discuss the future of the agricultural industry – both short-term with Brexit and long-term as we look to the next 150 years.

“Following positive feedback from last year’s conference we’re delighted to once again offer visitors morning workshop sessions with local businesses and the opportunity to explore our exhibition, alongside the line-up of topical talks throughout the afternoon.”

Navigating Brexit as farmers, turning global food trends into profitable opportunities and conservative agriculture are just some of the themes to be discussed. Industry experts include key note speaker Dr. David Hughes; Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, UK.

NFU Chief EU Withdrawal and International Trade Adviser, Gail Soutar, will also be presenting at the conference. Part of a dedicated team within the NFU, responsible for ensuring that the opportunities arising from the UK’s future global trading position are realised and that the interests of British farming are protected, Gail will provide her expert insight on how farmers can navigate Brexit.

Sponsors of the Lincolnshire Farming Conference include Farmacy plc, Openfield, Anglian Water, Househam, Brown & Co, Wilkin Chapman LLP, Streets, OMEX, Riseholme College, Jelf, University of Lincoln and CLAAS.

Robert Borrill added: “As we are a registered charity, the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society are always thankful to our sponsors and the important work they do. Our aims are of course to support the local agricultural community and allied trades, but also to educate about food, farming and the countryside.

“The support from our sponsors allows us to work closely with individuals, schools, organisations and businesses who share our common vision to promote the agricultural industry and support activities that have a positive effect on both the environment and the community.”

The Lincolnshire Showground is well placed geographically attracting both attendees and exhibitors from throughout the Midlands, as well as further afield.

The exhibition is open from 11am to 5.30pm and refreshments will be available alongside networking opportunities. A reception for the Impact Group, the Society’s networking group for under 35s, will also take place after the conference ends at 5.15pm.

Tickets are available now and cost £15 for adults, £6 for students, with members of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society free to attend once registered, including lunch. To book a place at the 2019 conference, please visit

For regular updates, follow the Lincolnshire Farming Conference on Twitter @LincsShowground or join the conversation at #LFC2019.”

For more information about the annual Lincolnshire Farming Conference, please click here or call 01522 522900 for further details.

International Conference: “Saline Futures: Addressing Climate Change and Food Security”

SalFar (saline farming), is a project which aims to mitigate the potential threats of salinisation through a collaboration of climate experts, researchers, educators, farmers, entrepreneurs and policy makers. In order to accomplish this, the project will conduct research on the salt tolerance of crops, demonstrating alternative methods of farming under saline conditions and creating new business opportunities for farmers, food producers and entrepreneurs.

The project is co-funded by the European Union Interreg programme for the North Sea Region and involves partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK (The University of Lincoln’s School of Geography, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology and the Lincoln International Business School) and in line with the ongoing project research, there will be a conference held in 2019:

The EU Interreg North Sea Region project SalFar will organise a scientific conference “Saline Futures: Addressing Climate Change and Food Security”. The conference will be held from 10-13 September 2019 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

“Salinity is increasing world-wide because of fresh water scarcity, climate change, and sea level rise. Salt-tolerant crops and innovative agricultural practices will help to ensure food security. This international conference will demonstrate and discuss the potential with contributions from the North Sea Region and other countries around the world” says Prof Pier Vellinga from the Wadden Academy, who is one of the main organisers.

Image credit: Salt Farm Texel

Research underway along the North Sea countries and elsewhere in the world illustrates the vast and so far, underrated potential of growing food on soils generally qualified as saline. Food production on present and future saline soils deserves the world’s attention, in particular because 1) food security is a pressing issue, 2) millions of hectares of degraded soils are available world-wide, 3) fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce, and 4) global sea level rise threatens food production in fertile coastal lowlands.

Capitalising on the vast potential of saline agriculture requires a major interdisciplinary and collaborative research effort to inform effective and supportive policy frameworks and to evaluate the most promising methods for developing saline agriculture in different regions of the globe. The conference intends to build on the conclusions of earlier conferences, such as FAO’s Global Forum on Salinisation and Climate Change, Salinity Forum and ICBA’s International Workshop on Climate Change and Soil Salinity Dynamics.

The aim of the conference is to showcase the potential of saline agriculture and to create a platform for researchers and research-users to enhance food production on saline lands. The conference is targeted at all stakeholders, including political decision makers, business operators, land managers, civic society, researchers and research planners.

The conference will address themes such as saline agriculture as a way to adapt to climate change and sea level rise, fresh water management in potentially saline soils, revitalisation of saline degraded lands, economics and financing of saline farming and products, microbiology of soils and plants, innovation and practical experience at farm level, experiments and promising crops. During this two-day scientific conference participants will have the possibility to visits test fields at Texel, Terschelling, Emden and possibly additional sites along the North Sea coast.

For more information and to register for the conference please visit the website of the Wadden Academy.

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University of Lincoln’s Robotic Fruit Picking Project Featured As Part of UK’s Industrial Strategy Plan

A fruit picking project, nicknamed ‘RAS-Berry’ has seen a collaboration between scientists at the University of Lincoln, SAGA Robotics and Berry Gardens Growers Ltd create the next generation of fruit-picking robots.

One of the largest projects of its kind in the EU, the aim is to relieve agricultural workers from heavy lifting work and increase productivity from the point the fruit is picked as the machines have been designed to move heavy boxes of soft fruits from the picking point to the collection point.

RAS-Berry is featured as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which is a long-term plan for boosting the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

The project funding has been granted from several sources, including the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the £1 billion AI sector deal, which puts the UK at the forefront of the AI sector.

There is an interactive map of locations around the UK which are featured in the Industrial Strategy plan, which can be viewed online.