Growers sought for agri-tech trials


06 March 2020
Growers sought for agri-tech trials

Agri-EPI Centre and Overbury Enterprises are working with a young entrepreneur and South Wales farmer’s son who has invented a dial-reading tool which has the potential to save growers time and money.

Tom McNamara’s device, called a ‘freeup’, can be mounted onto any kind of equipment or machinery to read and record analogue dials, instantly making them ‘smart’.

The device is being tested on three farms including Overbury, which participates in Agri-EPI’s Satellite Farm programme and grows potatoes as well as arable and sugar beet. Tom has established his own company to develop and sell the freeup, and he is on the hunt for other growers willing to take part in trials of the device.

After discussing the device with Agri-EPI Centre, Tom was invited to trial his freeup at Overbury Enterprises, where it is mounted on the water irrigation system.

Overbury Farm Manager Jake Freestone said: “Whilst irrigating, we use the freeup to monitor water pressure on the irrigation reel which alerts us to significant changes in pressure, allowing us to react quickly to any problems. We are now looking at other applications across the farm and estate.”

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Agri-EPI’s Farms & Commercial Manager Gavin Dick said: “We are keen to help Tom develop the freeup because it fits perfectly with our aim of helping farmers to gather and understand data simply and cost-effectively.”

Any farms interested in trialling the freeup can email Tom at [email protected].

The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) is one of four Agri-Tech centres established by the UK government. Agri-EPI Centre focuses on the delivery of research, development, demonstration and training on precision agriculture and engineering for the livestock, arable, horticulture and aquaculture sectors.