From drones to electric tractors: The tech helping agriculture go green

  • Watch Matthew Hudson's report for ITV News Anglia

New technology being tested on farms in the East of England could help shape a more sustainable future for agriculture.

From drones to crop spraying robots, farmers are turning to tech to help them go green while remaining profitable.

Nitrogen mapping can now be done cheaply and accurately by drone. It helps farmers know how much extra nitrogen they need to add, without adding too much which is bad for the environment.

Drones can be used to help map the amount of nitrogen in fields. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Aron Kisdi from GMV NSL said: "If farmers don't use enough fertiliser they risk getting a lower yield.

"Rather than risking that they often put in more to ensure the yield is there, but the excess nitrogen can run into the water table."

Electric robot tractors can add more details to nitrogen mapping as well as performing many farm jobs that fewer people now want to do including precision spraying.

Rob Pearson, CEO Auto Spray Systems, said: "First of all it's all electric so it helps reduce carbon.

"The second point is it helps you to reduce your chemical usage because if you are smart about were you put your chemicals you use less.

"You save money, you save the environment."

Electric robotic crop sprayers are more environmentally friendly. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cambridgeshire farmer Tom Pearson has been increasingly using sustainable methods for many years. He wants others to embrace them.

"Farmers will always be wary of change," he said. "I think it's important for some farmers in every region of the UK and the world to embrace Ag Tech, to make those changes, to share that knowledge."

Agricultural technology will be one of the main focuses at a major national farming conference next week.