Our speakers address the biggest challenges facing 21st-century and discuss how advances in innovation and technology will offer greater integration and collaboration.
If agriculture is to continue to feed the world, it needs to become more like manufacturing, says Geoffrey Carr. Fortunately, that is already beginning to happen
A farmer must constantly juggle a set of variables, such as the weather, his soil’s moisture levels and nutrient content, competition to his crops from weeds, threats to their health from pests and diseases, and the costs of taking action to deal with these things. If he does the algebra correctly, or if it is done on his behalf, he will optimise his yield and maximise his profit.
MICROBES, though they have a bad press as agents of disease, also play a beneficial role in agriculture. For example, they fix nitrogen from the air into soluble nitrates that act as natural fertiliser. Understanding and exploiting such organisms for farming is a rapidly developing part of agricultural biotechnology.
Crops of the future: Tinker and tailor
Farms need better products. Genomic understanding will provide them
People have raised freshwater fish in ponds since time immemorial, but farming species such as salmon that live mainly in saltwater dates back only a few decades, as does the parallel transformation of freshwater aquaculture to operate on an industrial scale.