Farmer co-ops to help SAOS roll out new techniques

Scotland's farmer co-ops are set to take the lead in rolling out precision farming techniques, agri-tech and data analytics to their members.

The project aims to help farming co-ops share best practice. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

A new project, which is being delivered through the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), will involve several agricultural co-ops, assisting them to research, design and trial precision farming and agri-tech services in the field. Supported by Scottish Government funding, the groups will share the results of the project, which is due to conclude in March 2017.

Cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity Fergus Ewing said farmer co-operatives were well placed to take advantage of economies of scale, share best practice and accelerate the uptake of new technologies.

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Announcing funding of £200,000 for this and two other projects – which looked at the benefits of co-op membership and collective action to mitigate climate change – Ewing said he looked forward to seeing positive results.

James Graham, chief executive of SAOS, said that one of the areas deemed important by SAOS members had been the role of co-ops as conduits for adopting new and smart technologies on behalf of their farmer members.

“We have had a strong response from several who are keen to engage with the project, which we believe will make a significant impact. The fact that the farmers will own the data that is collected by their co-op, for the collective benefit of members, is really important.”