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New research to improve agri-food through smart agri-tech showcased at National Ploughing Championships

Posted on: 14 Sep 2017

New research to improve agri-food through smart agri-tech showcased at National Ploughing Championships

Researchers from Tyndall National Institute will swap their lab coats for wellies next week as we head to the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Our bigger-than-ever demonstration of world-leading technology will showcase how farmers and food producers can cut costs, enhance quality and optimise their resources right across the sector.

Our scientists will display new research in smart agri-tech sensor systems that monitor water quality, soil conditions and the occurrence of diseases on farms. The systems are being developed to give farmers access to real-time data enabling them make informed decisions on greenhouse and crop management; animal health and welfare; food processing; water quality and environmental protection. 

Tyndall Research Fellow, Alan O’Riordan, explains: ‘These sensors listen to what the soil, crops, animals and water on the farm are telling us about their feed and environment. The data is collected and sent to the farmer on a mobile phone. Using the data, a farmer can make real-time in-situ decisions about the steps to take to ensure optimum yield. Farming is becoming increasingly tech-focused and farmers are increasingly tech-savvy. Our research is aimed at addressing long-term challenges here in Ireland, with our strong international reputation in agri-food, to deliver technologies worldwide.”

Photo of researcher, Mariusz Wilk, monitoring soil parameters in real-time
Researcher, Mariusz Wilk, monitoring soil parameters in real-time’

Developed through funding from Science Foundation Ireland (CONNECT centre) and the department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the new sensor systems comprise commercially available sensors as well as next generation electrochemical nanosensors developed at Tyndall. The sensor systems also include low-power, system-level intelligence and low-power consumption communications systems which are being deployed as part of Pervasive Nation – a research topic within CONNECT.

Tyndall is one of the few sites in the world producing hardware for precision agriculture and is emerging as Ireland’s leading institute undertaking technology development for smart-farming applications. Based at University College Cork, Tyndall is already recognised as being a world-leading technology partner to industry. In recent years, we have been working with Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland to develop smart agri-tech systems to ensure the use of natural resources is sustainable and cost effective.