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Harper Adams/Precision Decisions researchers prove it’s possible to grow crop without setting foot in field as Hands Free Hectare is harvested

PUBLISHED: 12:13 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:13 11 September 2017

Martin Abell and Jonathan Gill celebrating a successful harvest following Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions' Hands Free Hectare project. Picture: HARPER ADAMS UNIVERSITY

Martin Abell and Jonathan Gill celebrating a successful harvest following Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions' Hands Free Hectare project. Picture: HARPER ADAMS UNIVERSITY

Harper Adams University

Researchers have proved it’s possible to grow a crop from bare land to harvest without stepping foot in the field.

Remotely-run farm machinery in action as part of  Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions' Hands Free Hectare harvest, Picture: HARPER ADAMS UNIVERSITYRemotely-run farm machinery in action as part of Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions' Hands Free Hectare harvest, Picture: HARPER ADAMS UNIVERSITY

Using remotely-run farm machinery, Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions experts set about growing a crop of spring barley this year through a project called Hands Free Hectare. Now harvest is in, the researchers can breathe a sigh of relief.

Precision Decisions researcher Martin Abell said it had been a great success. “This project aimed to prove that there’s no technological reason why a field can’t be farmed without humans working the land directly now and we’ve done that.”

Harper Adams researcher Jonathan Gill said: “Throughout the year we’ve been predicting a yield of 5 tonnes. Looking in the trailer, it looks like we’re not quite there. Our agronomist predicted 4.5 tonnes and it looks like he’s on the money.” The team plans to make Hands Free Hectare beer with the barley.

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