IN the race to the future of farming, there will be a lot of hurdles to overcome in the here and now.
Without the cacophony of Brexit to dull the senses in this first week of the New Year, Farmers Guardian has shone a light on emerging agri-technology and how it is being harnessed in the industry.
Whether it is the mixed farmer making innovative changes to his business and reaping the financial rewards, the sheep flock harnessing improved genetics, or the array of leading technology on show at next week’s Lamma Show at the NEC, there is no doubt agriculture is one of the most advanced industries there is.
The challenge, however, is in ensuring that what is discovered in the laboratory or in the development of new technologies is applicable in real-world settings for real farmers. As with many things, an idea can be world leading, but agriculture will always have a way of finding its faults.
This is why the Agri-Tech Centres have such a crucial role to play in ensuring the best technology and research is usable on-farm and in the hands of normal operators.
Change, of course, is nothing new. A century ago the slow creep of the tractor would have begun to make its presence felt in rural Britain and, over the course of that 100 years, the impact of mechanisation has been immeasurable in how it reshaped farm size and numbers, the landscape, and also how wider transport developments reshaped the demography of rural areas.
Now, as then, the skills of individual farmers and workers will have to adapt to the rising tide of technology and its practical implementation, but conveying the scale of agri-tech possibilities to prospective graduates and employees is something the industry must get better at if it is to attract the brightest and best talent.
Change is always a constant and, in 2019, there is no doubt that, for many reasons, it will be the word on everyone’s lips.