LAMMA’s commitment to drive innovation across the agricultural sector will be reinforced with the introduction of a brand new zone that will focus on key technological advances and the role they might play in the future of farming, when the event returns to the NEC in Birmingham tomorrow (January 7) and Wednesday (January 8).

The Farming 4.0 zone features a wide range of companies involved in the development of these technologies and their successful implementation and uptake. The initiative comes at a time when many farmers are grappling with a range of problems that new technology can help solve.

For example, identifying and treating crop plants and weeds individually to ensure optimum use of plant protection products and fertilisers is good for the pocket and the environment. Such targeted use could also help preserve many products currently under threat from resistance or legislation.

Better use of AI to predict crop and livestock problems much earlier than is currently possible, and to help plan production cycles and predict yields much more accurately, have obvious input and marketing benefits.

Robotics will augment and could even replace heavy machinery fleets, helping to reduce soil compaction and dramatically cutting crop establishment costs as well as helping to deliver a more targeted farming approach.

Farming 4.0 will also cover some of the key areas required to help ensure great ideas can be turned into commercial successes. For example, facilitating the link between entrepreneurs with industry contacts, or implementing appropriate training programmes for existing workforces and attracted new and skilled talent into the agricultural engineering sector, will be vital in driving this technology forward.

A range of leading speakers will help to throw more light on some of these key areas on both days of the LAMMA event.

For a full list of zone participants, go to

Farming 4.0 speaker programme

Tuesday, January 7, 1000-1020; Wednesday, January 8 1140-1200

Scouting with drones: fast, efficient and automated crop monitoring

Jack Wrangham, founder, Drone Ag

Jack will discuss how drones will soon play a much more diverse role in everyday farm tasks. To illustrate the value of drones he will explain the features of the new Drone Ag mobile phone application, Skippy Scout, which offers farmers a fast and easy way to walk crops. Jack will also paint a picture of how drones will become an essential farm tool.

Tues 7 1050-1110

How Agritech has the opportunity to empower farmers

Sarah Carr, outreach manager, Farm 491

Farmers face a plethora of challenges on local and global scales, many of which are out of their control. Sarah will be discussing these challenges, the opportunity tech has to solve them, and also some hidden harms in developing tech for farmers.

Weds 8 1410-1430

Why your farming business needs a military veteran … and how to find one

Fiona Galbraith, founder, Ruralink

The rapid advance of technological change in farming needs dynamic, multi-skilled technical change and project managers, skills trainers and logistics experts. The Armed Forces invest huge amounts of time and money developing people with these skills. Fiona Galbraith will explain the transferable skills of Armed Forces veterans and how “resettlement” schemes can be used to offer work experience or support third-party training.

Tues 7 1140-1200; Weds 8 1230-1250

The challenge of improving productivity in the farming sector

Brian Richardson, UK head of agriculture, Clydesdale Bank

The AHDB and NFU have both presented data to the industry that shows a worrying trend in UK agriculture, with productivity seemingly stalled whilst competitors in mainland Europe and the US have improved. Why might this be the case and, given the likely pressures post Brexit, how can UK farming start addressing the issue?

Tues 7 1230-1250; Weds 8 1320-1340

How innovative technology can transform food production with AI driven precision ag

Simon Jordan, senior consultant, Cambridge Consultants

Agriculture has always been at the forefront of mechanisation. However, growers are facing new challenges that can’t be solved by simply making machines bigger or faster. This talk illustrates new examples of high-precision techniques that can treat plants individually, and how technology from other industries can help scale up, reducing cost and increasing reliability.

Tues 7 1320-1340; Weds 8 1050-1110

Staffing issues in the agricultural industry and what Agco are doing for their dealer network

Richard Charles, training manager UK and Eire, Agco

Richard will discuss the shortage of staff in the agricultural industry, with a particular focus on agricultural engineers. He will put some detail on statistics on a national level, show what we do as an industry and then suggest what action the agricultural industry can take to help resolve the problem, for example showcasing agriculture’s world leading technologies to attract not only rurally based people but others who would not know or consider the agricultural industry as career choice.

Tues 7 1440-1500; Weds 8 1000-1020

Intellectual Property as a valuable business tool

Tim Fray, patent assistant, Loven Patents

Intellectual property affects everyone’s lives – patents, trademarks, designs and copyright are all around us. These useful business tools can protect market share and provide leverage in negotiations. Tim will look at how IP integrates itself into our worlds, explain some of the myths around IP and examine the benefits of IP protection as a business tool.

Tues 7 1520-1540; Weds 8 1450-1510

Transforming food production: from farm to fork

Tom Jenkins, deputy challenge director – Transforming Food Production, Innovate UK , part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Find out more about the Transforming Food Production challenge that helps businesses, researchers and industry meet growing demand and move towards net zero emissions by 2040. Putting the UK at the forefront of this global revolution in farming will deliver benefits to farmers, the environment and consumers while driving growth, jobs and exports.