Winners follow up: hear from 3 previous Agri-tech winners!

As agri-tech developments and breakthroughs continues to excite the industry, we take a look at some of the previous winners of the British Farming Awards Agri-Tech Innovator, which is open for entries. Here we look at three previous winners.

2021: Terry Canning, CattleEye

JUST three years ago, Terry Canning successfully launched CattleEye, a world-first application of the latest deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, set to transform farming.

Hands-free monitoring of cow health and welfare sounds futuristic, but it is already being used and leading to significant savings.

To date, the technology – which monitors cow mobility and condition score via a camera mounted in the parlour – has achieved an average £100/cow/year efficiency for 30,000 cows worldwide.

It analyses images through cloud computing using an AI algorithm.

Calculated data highlights potential problems with lameness or a change in cow condition which is sent to a smartphone app.


Terry, who was brought up on a dairy farm and has a background in software telecommunications, wants the technology to provide a marked mprovement in animal welfare, thereby enhancing the lives of farmers and livestock worldwide, as well as helping farmers achieve net zero.

CattleEye has attracted industry leaders like Tesco and Marks & Spencer thanks to the reassurance and evidence the system offers in terms of monitoring livestock health and welfare which, in turn, protects their reputation and helps secure customer loyalty.

The reduction in lameness and antibiotics use and subsequent improved efficiencies in yield and feed costs are all seen benefits. This is achieved at a cost of £1/cow/month and stock are identified by their shape, bone structure, colouring and gait – with 98% accuracy – through the computer algorithm.

Looking ahead, Terry and his team have no intention of just leaving their mark in the parlour.

The goal is to have 500,000 dairy cows around the world passing under CattleEye’s gaze by 2025, with the capacity to reach one billion head in the future.

2020: Marc Skivington, Smart Farmer

WITH farm safety climbing up the agenda, Aberdeenshire mixed farmer Marc Skivington has devised an innovative solution which can ultimately save lives.

Smart Farmer is a cloud-based software and mobile app tool which uses a traffic light system to help farmers run checks on machinery before starting a job, and keep on maintenance and servicing.

Farmers can add usage hours, photos and descriptions of any issues and set alerts for when a service is due.

All information and service records are automatically uploaded to the cloud, helping to keep paperwork to a minimum.

The app works with all types of farm machinery and is available on Apple and Android phones.

Due to ever-increasing concerns about health and safety on farms and the need for incident prevention, Mark was trying to find a better solution for farm safety management, which did not burden users with paperwork.

Instead, he wanted reassurance that machinery was being checked, maintained and serviced regularly. Having not found appropriate software which addressed this, Smart Farmer was born.

To get things started and develop proof of concept, Mark worked with an academic student and lecturer at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and secured considerable investment, along with the help of a £5,000 Scottish Enterprise Innovative grant, and a £10,000 grant from Aberdeensire Council.

Smart Farmer helps farmers abide by the law and also helps employers, managers and operators better communicate and take responsibility for machine safety. The admin of the system can amend and edit checks specific to the machine in question, and warn of a pending defect.


Mark, who manages a diverse 1,800-hectare business at Slainspark Farm, knows only too well the importance of good machinery maintenance on his mixed farm.

He grows combinable crops, seed potatoes, turnips and daffodils as well as milking 600 dairy cows across two sites and fattening 33,000 pigs a year and he also has a 300-head beef herd.

The farm also has a 400kW anaerobic digester; a 500kW wind turbine; and a 400kW biomass plant.

2019: William Wells, Hummingbird Technologies

HUMMINGBIRD Technologies is an artificial intelligence business using drone and satellite technology, along with proprietary algorithms to provide farmers and agronomists with a suite of maps to help them make informed farm management decisions.

Their technology uses the most advanced machine learning and computer vision techniques, delivering actionable insights on crop health directly to the field.

It is the brainchild of Will Wells, who operates as the company’s chief executive, having grown up on a farm in the South West.

Before launching the company, he spoke to 500 farmers, agronomists and landowners across the UK about their businesses, associated pain points and what would be of practical use to farmers.

A vast amount of additional research and development was undertaken with businesses such as Velcourt, NIAB, Beeswax Dyson Farming, Spearhead, and BASF to name a few.

Hummingbird began operating in 2016 and since then has covered more than 500,000 hectares of arable crops for farmers and agribusinesses. The company currently has more than 150 paying customers in six countries, with a customer retention rate greater of more than 95 per cent.

The team has since expanded from 10 to 35 to offer fast, reliable information, with data being processed as provided back to the customer within 24 hours.


The company offers a range of different services across a variety of crops in cereals and vegetables, such as detection of diseases, crop stress detection, weed grass mapping and nutrient management mapping, as well as yield prediction and plant counting in row crops. They have also done bespoke work with more unique crops, such as Christmas trees, and  tailored mapping, including for pest damage.

Providing this in time for key decision points throughout the season helps increase agricultural yields, optimise resource consumption and sustainably manage land for a better future.

So far, the business is operating in the UK, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Ukraine and Canada, with plans to grow even further.