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Technology to the Rescue?


Sustainable agricultural intensification may can help ensure food security while protecting natural resources. But what innovative practices should farmers adopt and governments invest in? IFPRI studied several farming practices to see what may work best for farmers, for the world’s hungry, and for the environment.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.


Technology to the rescue: How new inventions will reduce the hard labour and risk in farming

Quad bikes are involved in up to 20% of farm vehicle fatalities, with up to 75% of the victims aged 60 or older, according to the Health & Safety Authority. In New Zealand, the award-winning Fleetpin Rollover Safety System detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents, and simultaneously sending out an SOS alert.

With “Agtech” now the darling of investors, we can hope that new inventions will make farming safer.

Venture companies in the US alone have been investing about $17b per year in tech tools for farmers.

Already, some promising farm safety ideas have emerged, even if farm safety is not very high on the list of priorities for investors in farm-tech.

However, getting technology to do the work on the ground that is normally done by the farmer inherently takes the farmer out of harm’s way.

Using software for soil analysis and for monitoring crop growth can leave the farmer sitting safely at home in his or her office, remotely monitoring signals from farm sensors.

“Smart” ear tags or collars on livestock can reduce the dangers associated with gathering and penning the animals to check them out.

Instead, pedometers, robotic milking machines, or ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna, can be used to monitor their health remotely.

In this way, the many farm deaths and injuries associated with livestock can be reduced.

Read More

Much of the agtech emphasis is on farmers growing or rearing extra food to feed growing populations, but using less water, land, fertiliser, and pesticides.

There is farm safety built into this, for example, reducing farmer exposure to pesticide or fertiliser chemicals.

Robots in general can take over arduous tasks on farms, now an economic as well as a farm safety imperative, because it is harder to find labourers for these tasks.

Back problems are common among farmers, a big health and safety issue especially for smaller scale farmers with heavy manual workloads.

There’s no shortage of expensive machines for the larger farms, but farm helper robots may be the answer to help small farmers.

For example, some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, but there is an EU-funded project called ROMI to develop agricultural robots in order to automate slow, repetitive and dull tasks such as weeding for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields. The aim is to develop robots costing no more than €5,000.

Around the world, farm safety inventions continue to emerge.

At the recent New Zealand Fieldays event (their equivalent of Ireland’s Ploughing Championships), a new technology inventions winner was the Fleetpin Rollover Safety System.

It’s a rollover warning and critical alerting system, designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles.

It detects rollover situations before they happen, providing visual and audible warnings to help reduce accidents.

The Fleetpin sensor module can determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and check this information many hundreds of times per second.

When a roll is detected, the system automatically starts a 15-second countdown process to send out an SOS alert to get help.

The operator can easily cancel this automated alert with the press of a button, if they are OK and do not need help.

In remote areas, Fleetpin uses a separate satellite transmitter module, sending SOS messages that can be received via satellite as quickly as 30 seconds.

A number of farm safety projects are being developed with the help of the EU’s Horizon research and innovation programme.

The EU-funded ROMI project develops robots to help small scale farmers with tedious tasks such as watering, above, and weeding. Some organic farmers are estimated to spend about one-fifth of their time weeding, linked to widespread back problems.

One addresses the age-old challenge of safely attaching tractors to trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, but which remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. this is linked to up to 40% of farmers’ deaths in the EU which are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements.

With Horizon programme grant aid, the Silkeborg company in Denmark took on the challenge of devising an automated, strong and reliable hitch system between tractors and implements.

They invested three years of research and development, and say the resulting technology is 10 times better than the closest competitors, and it allows farmers to hitch the heaviest implements from the safety of the tractor cab, in less than 30 seconds.

This could enable some farmers to manage with only one tractor instead of four.

Work continues on the technology, with a view to launching it on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US, by 2025.

Similar Horizon programme grant aid went to Luzzara Re Simol, an Italian company, developing an automatic hydraulic jack with improved capacity, safety, and efficiency for agricultural implements.

Their aim is to produce a simpler, quicker and less labour intensive alternative to current vehicle jacks, with 64% more lifting capacity, but 40% cheaper.

One of the targets is to end 80% of jack-related downtime of agricultural implements.

Many Irish inventors have made advances in farm safety, which reflects the huge importance of the issue here.

An interesting example is the Slurry Solver, a retrofit farming technology for slatted units, with claimed major safety benefits as well as giving farmers the capability to create, store and use biogas, with minimal investment requirements.

A floating membrane structure is inserted into existing slatted units and is semi-submerged in the slurry. By trapping biogas, this converts the slurry tank into a long-term anaerobic digester.

The Slurry Solver also reduces the likelihood of anyone falling into the tank.

Some agricultural inventors are looking farther ahead. Lars Nybo, a professor of integrative physiology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on a project called Heat-Shield on how to combat expected rising temperatures which would adversely affect worker productivity and human health.

Heat exposure due to global warming could become a big problem for worker productivity, health, and safety, in industrial sectors that employ half of Europe’s workforce, including agriculture.

Heatwaves pose a danger to workers by reducing physical and cognitive performance.

This is already happening, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe.

Heat can diminish occupational performance, via reduced working endurance, vision, motor coordination and concentration, leading to more mistakes, as well as injuries or deaths.

Professor Nybo and his team are tasked with not just assessing the extent of the problem, but also devising and implementing solutions.

It could yet prove to be one of the hardest farm safety challenge to crack.

Remedies for workers in enclosed settings seem straightforward, a combination of air conditioning, working in shade, and improving ventilation, but these leave an ecological footprint which must be minimised.

Roughly 70% of all European workers, at some time during the working day, are not optimally hydrated.

The solution to that is to drink water, replace electrolytes, and reduce physical activity, but implementing these measures whilst maintaining productivity is where things get tricky.

That’s a big part of the challenge for the Heat-Shield project, identifying interventions to minimise the risks to health.