HOW AGRICULTURAL tractor manufacturers will face up to the increasing pressure from climate change-driven policies will be a key topic at the forthcoming Institution of Agricultural Engineers conference.

Held on October 30 at the East of England showground, Peterborough, the conference will tackle some of the big issues facing the machinery industry and it’s theme asks: ‘Can big data lead to smarter farming’?

In recent years there has been a rapid rise in the amount of data being collected throughout the agricultural supply chain. Farmers are gathering huge amounts of data, for example using sensors and mobile apps to analyse soil samples, and cameras and drones to monitor pests and diseases.

The conference will look at how can farmers, agribusinesses and researchers can gain real value from this and how industry should be harnessing it to support future decision-making at field and farm level – but experts report that 90% of it is being ‘wasted’.

IAgrE President, Professor Jane Rickson, said: “This conference will explore whether ‘big data’ can help deliver the ‘sustainable intensification’ of agriculture, by bringing about increased agricultural production as well as better protection of the environment. We have lined up an outstanding range of speakers to make this a highly relevant and exciting event.”

The conference will explore how ‘big data’ is being used to improve agricultural practices and how farmers and technologists should work together to extract the real value from the wealth of data being collected.

The programme includes:

Benjamin Turner, of Agrimetrics, talking about the role of ‘big data’ in unlocking previously unimaginable solutions to feeding the world.

Practical lessons from the farm about how big data will transform agriculture – Oliver Wood, precision technology manager with Omnia Precision Agronomy.

Dr Joachim Stiegemann, of Claas, will talk about the next generation of Claas' Lexion harvester and how data collection will contribute to smarter farming.

How the Internet of Things has morphed into the Internet of Agri-things. The speaker will be from a major software company

The Royal Academy of Engineering will speak about developments in the use of artificial intelligence, imagery and analytics from satellite, drone, plane and robots.

Cranfield University and Harper Adams University will talk about ‘big data’ in the arable and livestock sectors, the use of sensor technologies and the ethical dilemmas around data collection.