Poll reveals urgent change needed

Insights from the Agri-Tech 4 centres event, hosted on Newcastle University's Cockle Park farm
In a recent poll of more than 200 delegates at the Agri-Tech Centres Arable and Livestock events at Newcastle University's Cockle Park farm 'attitudes and behaviours' were cited as the biggest barrier (39%) to using data in businesses. Other challenges to using data included fragmentation (28%), ease of access (17%), complexity of technology (11%) and security and trust (6%).

The UK food and farming sector generates data at an unprecedented rate, yet much of it is never used. Before now, the barrier has been a technical one. But the ability to connect fragmented and disparate data in a way that couldn't be done just 5 to 10 years ago is now here.

The value and insights gleaned by bringing this data together could unlock unimaginable solutions in sustainable food production, human nutrition and natural resource quality.

Agrimetrics exists to catalyse the whole agrifood sector. One of our goals is to inform a new data-culture which:

  • Provides free and easy access to publicly-funded data for all
  • Provides a long-term joined up strategy driven by Government
  • Puts data at the heart of business decisions – from field to fork
  • Addresses misconceptions about the value of data held at farm level
  • Delivers common principles and processes in data collection and sharing
  • Leads in delivering international standards

Data is already revolutionising the agrifood supply chain, however, the benefits will remain piecemeal until the sector is able to bring together the disparate groups into a cohesive whole
David Flanders
Agrimetrics CEO
Counting the costs
For Food:

  • 1bn people on the planet are under-nourished; 2bn are over-nourished
  • Over one third of food produced is wasted. The cost to UK families is £700 a year
  • 4.4m tonnes of household food waste in the UK is thrown away that could have been eaten
  • If world food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA
  • 69% of fruit and vegetables imported to the UK come from just two countries - Spain and the Netherlands
  • The UK imports nearly £40bn food, feed and drink per annum
  • 25% of the world's fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten

For Farming:

  • The growth of UK farm productivity lags well behind European and Global competitors – the gap is worth £4.3bn in lost GDP (2000-2013)
  • UK wheat farmers spend at least £100/ha on fungicides to control yield and quality-damaging diseases such as septoria, yellow rust, and mildew
  • Spending on fungicides changes by only a few £/ha as the price of grain fluctuates
  • Soil quality is deteriorating at such a fast rate that scientists believe fewer than 100 harvests are left in our soils

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