N8 AgriFood feature in BBC Farming Focus Week

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Experts from N8 AgriFood were featured on BBC news, offering their expertise in precision agriculture during Farming Focus week.

News stations across  the UK have been reporting dedicated farming features as the BBC shines the spotlight on issues facing agriculture. Chair and Academic Lead of N8 AgriFood at the University of Manchester, Professor Bruce Grieve, was featured discussing how advances in precision agriculture can help with global food security and climate change.

Prof Grieve spoke to the BBC National News team about a recent paper  “The challenges posed by global broadacre crops in delivering smart agri-robotic solutions: A fundamental rethink is required”. He gave a general overview of the effects of over nitrification of soils on GHG emissions, before outlining how this can be mitigation through precision agriculture, i.e. how variable rate application of fertilisers combined with multispectral imaging could alleviate the issues.

Speaking about nitrogen used in agricultural fertilisers, Prof Grieve said: “It will go right up into the ozone layer, and it’s only when it reaches right up into the ozone layer that the sun is powerful enough to break it down. 

“It then forms the gas that we know about in the cities, the nitrous oxide, the NO2, which damages the ozone layer. So that’s the key issue of arable agriculture is managing that nitrogen more efficiently.”

The feature also discussed  how precision agriculture, when integrated with Artificial Intelligence, can move us into breading climate tolerant crops through phenotyping directly in the field and getting a more accurate indication of which cultivars (crops) would be the most appropriate. The interview then touched on the higher efficiencies of land-usage that can be offered again by such approaches.

Find out more about the N8 AgriFood Resilience programme, funded by the N8 Research Partnership and HEFCE here: www.n8research.org.uk/research-focus/agri-food/description-of-programmes