A WEST Wales project is underway to help farming communities become more efficient by using the latest agricultural technologies.

The Innovation and Technology project, based at Coleg Sir Gâr’s agricultural campus in Gelli Aur and funded by Carmarthenshire County Council's Leader programme, is home to project officer Rhys Jones who runs it with the college’s external funding officer, Nia Lloyd.

The idea is to help farmers with tailored support by researching and sourcing innovative ways of supporting their work using technology.

Technology can help in many ways, such as in monitoring cattle health, checking mountain flocks with drones and using sensors for gates which sends the farmer a text alert when left open.

The project is creating networks with many agricultural and technology specialists such as Lely (robotics), Techion, Vantage Trimble (autosteer and GPS technology) and KRM Ltd, who trialled their KRM Bogballe spreader at Gelli Aur campus before the college invested in the machinery.

Rhys Jones said: “We are encouraging the farming community to talk with us to discuss how we can provide solutions through research, technology and through our industry networks to address general and tailored issues affecting farms.

“There are also Welsh Government grants available through Farming Connect to support the project.

“The innovation really is impressive using technology to analyse problems such as worming issues where technology can microscopically identify eggs in individual animals and herds.

“There are also livestock ear tags that alert the farm when an animal is in heat as well as a range of robotics such as feeders, milking parlours and slurry collectors.

“We really want to help farmers be proactive by introducing technology to provide an extra pair of hands.”

Addressing the problem of network signal in some rural areas, the project is also working with Carmarthenshire Country Council trialling 10 farms with a large range wide area network (LoRaWAN) and IOT sensors to help address Wi-Fi and technology barriers.

To find out more about the project contact rhys.jones@colegsirgar.ac.uk or ring 07500 786372.