...Digital farm business coaching for 10x value…
...Wider Advisory Group for industry consultation and commercial trials at scale...
Groundswell conservation agriculture show, 26 June 2019 Small Robot Company, a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced its Farm Ambition Blueprint. A business coaching programme for farmers, Farm Ambition will enable farmers to take full advantage of the radical changes in technology now transforming farming.
Using robotics and artificial intelligence, Small Robot Company (SRC) has created an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious, efficient and profitable farming.
Farm Ambition Blueprint is a business coaching programme designed to develop farmers’ thinking about how new technologies can change their business and open up new opportunities. It is designed to help farmers create a future for their businesses and themselves which is easier, more profitable and more rewarding - both financially, and personally.
“Your farm’s future can be bigger than its past. This is the most exciting time there has ever been to be a farmer,” comments Sam Watson Jones. “Digitisation entirely changes what’s possible on farm - how we think about our farms - and how we think about ourselves. A farm could be designed not for what large machines can do to it but for what you can do with it. It’s a World of Opportunity - and our programme will show you how to take maximum advantage.”
By farmers, for farmers
SRC has been working closely with its Farmer Advisory Group - including the National Trust Wimpole Estate and Waitrose Leckford Estate - to develop its no-till robotics technology on farm. Field trials are currently in progress in 20 farms across the United Kingdom.
The 100 Club is for the company’s first commercial customers - for the time when it is ready for large scale commercial trials in 2021. Prior to the service being commercially available, its 100 Club will form its Wider Advisory Group panel of farmers. They will be regularly consulted as the technology takes shape, working with SRC to shape the future of arable farming.
"The time is now for Smart Farming. Every other industry has benefited from Digital,” said 100 Club founding member and SRC investor Will Evans, Farmer Rock and Roll Farming Podcast. ”Technology is rapidly transforming food production - and Small Robot Company has the vision, drive and ambition to take this forward."
Sam will be running a seminar on the Farm Ambition Blueprint at the Groundswell Conservation Agriculture conference at 3pm on 26 June, Lannock Manor Farm, Hertfordshire.
“We are no longer shackled to the tractor and its limitations. Now, we can start to care for each plant individually,” concludes Sam. “Our longer term vision is for ‘permaculture at scale’. Caring for each plant according to its own needs, and applying horticultural techniques at a broadacre level. We are planning a future where your farm can grow multiple commercial crops in the same field, with different plants harvested at different times.”
By farmers, for farmers: ‘a new future for food production’
Small Robot Company’s Farmer Advisory Group covers a wide range of different arable farming business from across the UK - from organic farms to conventional, from smaller family farms to large-scale contract farms.
The company recently raised £1.2 million on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, with its hugely successful campaign overwhelmingly due to backing from the farming community. This takes total funding secured to date to £2.5 million.
Comments from SRC’s Farmer Advisors:
“The Small Robot Company’s work gives us a glimpse of a new future for food production. As a farmer I feel that current crop production methods seem to be running out of places to go to make improvements in productivity,” comments George Renner, farmer and no-till pioneer, and member of the Small Robot Company Farmer Advisory Group. “The vision the Small Robot Company offers shows that there really is the potential now to completely revolutionise crop production like never before. I am hugely excited to be involved with such a bold project.
"We are now on the cusp of a fourth agricultural revolution. Food production and environmental care is at the heart of that,’ said Andrew Ward, MBE Farmers Weekly Farming Champion & Arable Farmer of the Year, and member of the Small Robot Company (SRC) Farmer Advisory Group. “We can't achieve this without robotics and automation becoming part of everyday farm life."
"Farming is ripe for disruptive change. Over the next decade we must become more profitable, reverse environmental damage, communicate better with the public and grow more food, for more people than ever before,” comments Tom Clarke, Nature Friendly Farmer, NFU Sugar Board, OFC19 Emerging Leader and member of the SRC Farmer Advisory Group.
“Like many arable farmers we would like to reduce the use of pesticides, encourage wildlife on our farm and improve soil health - while farming as efficiently as possible to maintain the viability of the farming business,” said investor Kate Brown, farmer and member of the SRC Farmer Advisory Group, W R Brown (Farms) Ltd. “The Small Robot Company’s vision is to help farmers achieve all these aims which is why we are keen to work with them.”
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About Small Robot Company
Small Robot Company is working to maximise food production while reducing its cost on the environment. We are a group of farmers, engineers, scientists and service designers with a deep knowledge farming, robotics, AI and service design. We are dedicated to building technology that will make farming profitable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. We are building a farming service designed by farmers for farmers that uses robotics and AI to deliver this dream. Our technology builds on 15 years’ research by Professor Simon Blackmore, the world’s leading expert in precision farming at Harper Adams university. Our three small robots Tom Dick and Harry will seed, feed and weed arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste. This will cut chemicals by up to 95%. Its no-till robotics also prevent soil erosion and run off, reducing cultivation emissions by up to 90%.
Small Robot Company’s funding includes £1 million from Innovate UK, and half a million from UK farmers. Its technology is built on world-leading British research from Professor Simon Blackmore at Harper Adams University.
Agri-tech robotic service
Small Robot Company offers its robots through a Farming as a Service (FaaS) model, which is both a hardware and a software service for farmers. Farmers pay a per hectare subscription fee for a robotic hardware service which digitises the farm, and delivers crop care at per-plant precision. The full service will comprise:
Tom, crop and soil monitoring robot
Dick, precision spraying and laser weeding robot
Harry, precision drilling and planting robot
Wilma, the operating system
The AI-driven neural network
Two robots - Tom monitoring prototypes: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WnOFRlYptzCZNtnhKiofXFnwZt6cZeZO
Andrew Hoad, Partner & Head of the Leckford Estate, with Tom monitoring robot prototype: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YrFeVzVvTzLiK6g-G-29ix6O2y-N6L0L
Tom monitoring robot prototype: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dE-4htT0HZPD_Aa1TuBmFwmq6vDGeENG
Harry prototype robot together with Sam Watson Jones, co-founder, Small Robot Company Andrew Hoad, Partner & Head of the Leckford Estate, and Joe Allnutt, Head of Robot Awesomeness: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aq4LJ7oXkW64Wmnoymfy84fY2TmqR3FR