Join us 14 & 15 October 2019 for New Ag Digital Week, a global 2-day series of live educational webcasts and downloadable resources providing the latest insights on Biostimulants, Biocontrol, specialty fertilizers, Irrigation and new/the latest Greenhouse and Precision Ag technologies. To sponsor future digital events, contact or request details.

Day 1: Monday, October 14, 2019

The Impact of Swarm Robotics on Arable Farms
9am EDT / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST

Swarm robotics has the potential to radically change farming. In most cases development of agricultural robotics is initially driven by the shortage of farm labour, but the longer run impacts potentially include:

  • Changes in the economies of scale make small and medium sized farms more competitive;
  • Trade flows shift as comparative advantage moves to areas with good soils, reliable rainfall and close to markets, even if those areas are densely populated and have small, irregularly shaped fields;
  • More intensive use of smaller machines cuts the investment needed for commercial agricultural production;
  • Individual plant management by autonomous machines reduces the environmental footprint of agriculture reducing the quantity of pesticides used and making peri-urban agriculture more socially acceptable; and
  • With targeted pesticide application crop protection shifts from a product market to weed, insect and plant disease control services.

The session will explore the implications of robotics for arable agriculture using lessons learned from economic analysis of the Hands Free Farm (HFF) experience at Harper Adams University (HAU). Since 2017 HAU researchers have been growing a field of cereals using conventional farm equipment retrofitted to operate autonomously. In 2019 that effort is being ramped up to the whole farm level with multiple crops and several robots working simultaneously. The essence of HFF experience has been captured in farm linear programming model that helps researchers explore the economic opportunities created by autonomous machines. The session will wrap up with a discussion of the marketing, business model, legal and regulatory constraints that affect a move to robotic agriculture.


James Lowenberg-Deboer, PhD
Harper Adams University

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Does deficit irrigation work in annual crops? Best practices learnt from Spain
10am EDT / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST

Main irrigated lands in Castilla-La Mancha region (Spain) are located in semiarid areas with a low availability of water resources for irrigation. The Regional Centre of Water Research (CREA) that belongs to the Castilla-La Mancha University (UCLM) aims to increase the efficiency in the use of irrigation water, as a way to improve the profitability of farms and to increase the resilience of the agricultural sector to global warming, among other objectives. For reaching this objective, CREA is developing the MOPECO model. This model uses the ORDI (optimized regulated deficit irrigation) methodology for increasing the irrigation water productivity (more crop per drop). ORDI determines the deficit to be applied at each development stage of annual crops for a certain global deficit objective to reach the maximum yield, depending on the sensitivity of each phenological stage to water deficit. Moreover, ORDI can be also used for distributing a limited amount of irrigation water during the cropping season and reaching a suitable yield, even when the amount of available water is lower than the crop irrigation requirements. In regions as Castilla-La Mancha where water is scarce but not the irrigable area, we think we should reach the maximum yield per unit of irrigation water volume instead of per unit of irrigable area. ORDI has demonstrated to reach this objective in crops in which it was applied (barley, maize, onion, garlic and carrot).

Nevertheless, increasing water productivity does not imply to increase the profitability of the crops that is the final aim of farmers. Thus, the quality of the harvests can be affected by deficit irrigation, decreasing the final price perceived by farmers. That was the case of purple garlic, in which the improvements on water productivity did not compensate the decrease on final price caused by a reduction of bulb diameters. On the contrary, ORDI for limited volumes of irrigation water was successfully applied in a malting barley crop. This annual crop occupies the greatest irrigable area in the region, being its profitability very low.

Consequently, by improving the water productivity it would be possible to increase the profitability of farms, to maintain the same production of barley grain in the area by increasing the irrigated land dedicated to this crop, and saving a considerable amount of irrigation water. This volume could be used to replenish the piezometric levels of the regional aquifers (in risk of overexploitation), or it could be used by other more profitable crops or economic sectors. These and other methodologies are included in the SUPROMED project (funded by PRIMA-CE), in order to provide a holistic crop-livestock water management system resilient to climate change in the Mediterranean agroecosystems.


Alfonso Dominguez
Associate Professor
Superior Technical School of Agriculture and Foresty Engineers of Albacete

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Day 2: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Biostimulant Technologies Focus on Efficiency
9am EDT / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST

  • Research and formulation technologies in SEIPASA biostimulants are the key factor in constantly ensuring the efficiency of action in different crops.
  • A balanced formulation between microbes, specific polymers extracted from botanical substances and a low sugar content, a comparative differential synergistic effect is achieved compared to the majority of biostimulants of the market.
  • Focus the design a biostimulant which specific reactions would we promote in the crops. And trying to interact in these metabolic or psysiologic concrete pathways.
  • The appropriate and specific formulation allows a greater activity in the metabolism of the all plant, getting a better use of nutrients.
  • In Seipasa we have confirmed all these results through scientific technologies, which allow us to guarantee the effectiveness of biostimulants and the objectives to be achieved for strengthening the plant and producing greater quantity and quality in horticultural, citrus and olive groves.


Javier Nacher
Chief Technical Officer

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Development of New Biological Control Agents Against Apple Scab and Powdery Mildew
10am EDT / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST

Description TBD


Jurgen Kohl
Senior Scientist - Plant Diseases
Wageningen University & Research

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Day 1 - Monday, October 14, 2019

Day 2 - Tuesday, October 15, 2019