New and high-value crops are increasingly thriving thanks to recent temperature-rises. As the climate keeps changing, so new crops will become viable, and those currently grown in small quantities will be able to be cultivated more widely. However, they need specific microclimatic conditions to thrive. Being able to identify exactly the best places for them will maximise their chances of success: standard temperature sensors can’taccurately measure temperatures relatively close to the ground in direct sunlight.
Climatehub developed state-of-the art farm-and field-scale climate and crop models to show the specific areas of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly bestsuited to growing such crops, now and in future. Our project partner, Farm Cornwall, is using the maps developed to deliver sound, practical advice to farmers and horticulturalists.
In partnership with Empowerment Innovation & Resource Ltd, we designed a new temperature-sensor capable of accurately measuring microclimatic conditions. The product underwent field testing in Cornwall and prototypes are being tested across Europe, although bringing the product to market has been complicated by our business partner’s insolvency.
Alongside the sensor, the project yielded open-source software forhigh-resolution climate modellingand for high-resolution crop suitability modelling, as well as developing climate and crop suitability maps. Climatehub has also triggered inward investment and skills to Cornwall: a Research Council-funded PhDand funding from Defra to use the same climate models to assess crop pest and disease risk.
We achieved our main aim, to develop and make publicly available crop suitability maps for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and to embed these web platform to help Farm Cornwall (even though the development of a thermal sensor was hampered by our partner’s financial difficulties).
And the work done on the sensor helped us develop a low power-consumption, battery-operated data logger with much wider applications than thermal sensing. We are exploring market opportunities and partner businesses with whom to work on further development of, and potential applications for, this device.
To find out more please email Alex Huke at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01326 255844.