Agritech is the use of technology in agriculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency, and profitability. Due to the landscape of rural UK, the application of 5G and agritech has the potential to transform the industry by streamlining agriculture and food production as we head into the future.

5G RuralFirst is providing a vital step change to connectivity in UK agriculture and rural communities, with a variety of use cases being tested across our Shropshire and Somerset test sites.

The Shropshire test bed focuses on achieving high speed connection to autonomous tractors and drones providing high definition image analysis of cross, weeds and soil on the “Hands Free Hectare” at Harper Adams University.  The Somerset test bed is home to Agri-EPI Centre’s South West Dairy Development Centre, a highly automated state-of-the-art dairy farm.  Here, 5G is being challenged to provide a vital high speed and low-latency channel for data exchange direct from sensors on and around the drone and farming equipment and associated emerging technology, with zero latency or delay.

Use cases include:

  • Hands-free Hectare Autonomous Tractors
    • Testing if it is possible to control autonomous systems via 5G, this use case will explore the value of autonomous tractors, controlled by drones in real time.
  • Drone Soil Analysis
    • Drone analysis and tractor control to spray fertilizer on needed areas.
  • AnimalCare
    • An Augmented Reality (AR) use case, smartposts will offer remote veterinarian diagnostics support, enabling farmers to ask advice and see how to care for animals in real time, using voice commands.
  • Connected Cows
    • Testing the ability to proactively manage animal health, by monitoring rumination, fertility and eating patterns data through cow collar-mounted transponders.
  • Hyperspectral Imaging
    • Testing if 5G can enable real-time identification and classification of soil conditions from a plane flying at 900 metres, to enable more rapid, real time response to soil conditions, cattle grazing patterns and spread of disease in forests.