Agri-tech Innovator of the Year

2020 Finalists

Sponsored by Clydesdale Bank/Yorkshire Bank

Recognising the pioneering ideas created from brilliant minds who are bringing emerging technologies to life.

David Farquhar, Intelligent Growth Solutions, Perthshire

Intelligent Growth Solutions has combined decades of farming and engineering experience with a vision to revolutionise the indoor growing market. It designs and delivers vertical farms and greenhouse lighting for farmers and growers around the world, with the aim of revolutionising the indoor growing market. Assistance is also available to support with financial planning and to advise on infrastructure services (energy, water and internet) the farm will require. The business specialises in Total Control Environment Agriculture which controls every aspect of the climate, including light, wind, rain, nutrition and temperature. The software can be programmed to run multiple growth cycles concurrently to produce mixed crops, or one crop variety in stages.

Tom Freeman, 18a Productions, Cheddar Fields, Somerset

Most farm budgeting tools are too complicated and expensive for small- to medium-sized enterprises, says Somerset chilli grower Tom Freeman, so he decided to build a simple, affordable alternative. allows users to forecast what profit they can stand to make and understand the cashflow within their business. Tom strongly believes offering accurate information can help farmers feel more in control and make better decisions, protecting their business in the future. The tool works on any device and does not need to be downloaded. It costs £4/month for small farmers and is free for students and not-for-profit organisations.

Marc Skivington, Smart Farmer, Aberdeenshire

A paperless management tool to comply with health and safety legislation. The iCloud-based software system records unlimited, daily pre-start checks of all types of farm machinery identified with QR coded stickers through an app. It raises alerts to machinery defects, logging images and enhancing communication to all operators on the farm with the current live status of each machine and email notifications. Users can add a service report and check service history for each machine potentially avoiding many hazardous breaches.

Jim Wilson and Robert Ramsay, SoilEssentials, Angus

Jim Wilson and Robert Ramsey run SoilEssentials, a precision technology company that taps into their farming experience to tackle industry challenges. Tuberzone CropCast is their latest invention, and a project run in partnership with McCain, GrimmeUK, Newcastle University and The James Hutton Institute. The technology predicts potato crop yield, size distribution and crop value, weekly through the season, to ensure growers desiccate at peak crop value, meet their contract targets and reduce waste. In exchange for information given on their planting dates, variety and irrigation, Tuberzone predicts crop growth, monitors the crop using satellite imagery, and records the weather using a virtual weather station. Growers receive a weekly progress report and a forecast two weeks ahead to allow informed decisions to capitalise on the best outcome for profitability.