Three farms across Scotland being used as ‘digital farms’ testbed

Three farms in Scotland are being used to trial new IoT technology in a bid to demonstrate how digital tools can improve profitability and sustainability.

The undisclosed ‘focus farms’ will be used to demonstrate, trial and monitor and evaluate the potential benefits of digital farming using LoRaWAN (long range, wide area network) and sensor technology.

They will use existing sensory technology to engage with the Scottish farming community to demonstrate how digital technology can improve profitability and sustainability.

The £54,675 funding package was announced as part of The Scottish Government’s commitment to ‘support innovation in farming’.

It will support operational costs, including the temporary installation of LoRaWAN and sensory monitors, which offer simple, low-cost ways for farmers to collect data and benefit from the digital revolution.

The Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund is delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20. The scheme will fund eligible innovation projects under the European Innovation Partnership. Digital Farms – Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) – was one of six newly published projects under the scheme, which will benefit from a combined £300,000 package.

The project uses a form of low power, wireless communication to allow whole farms to be digitally connected, offering a simple, low-cost way for farmers to collect data. SmartRural, Scottish Natural Heritage and rural hardship charity RSABI are also involved. 

The project aims to equip farmers with the data and insights required to tackle the key challenges the industry face, issues such as: improving productivity, inefficiency and waste, improving environmental management, dealing with a shrinking labour force and extreme weather events, meeting climate change targets, and the lack of profitability.