The Government has announced £22 million for investment in new farming technologies and three of the projects earmarked for funding are in the south west.

The new technologies are set to help UK farmers cut down on pollution, minimise waste and produce more food thanks to a £22 million Government investment.

Half a million pounds is going towards the development of a robot raspberry harvester in Plymouth to pick raspberries faster, cheaper and to more consistent and higher standards than human labour. The plan is to create a system that is easily reconfigurable to other fruit varieties, vegetables and delicate objects.

Another of the projects is vertical farming in Bristol. The project will combine innovative irrigation and lighting technologies in a large scale farm operation to increase productivity, quality and sustainability of vertical farming.

The third of the south west's projects to be invested in is a cattle welfare project in Porton Down, Wiltshire. The intention is to refine an automatic system for early identification of important diseases in dairy cattle since detecting disease early increases cow welfare and improves productivity.

The funding was announced by Science Minister Chris Skidmore for the first 31 projects to benefit from the Government’s dedicated Transforming Food Production Challenge, a £90 million Industrial Strategy fund to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform farming and meet the needs of a growing population.

This investment in the latest technological developments is a key part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, and commitment to boost research and development spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

It will also contribute towards providing greener, cleaner processes for the agricultural sector, helping towards the Government’s commitment to a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Chris Skidmore said: “The projects announced today will ensure we lead the way in supporting our vital farming industry, delivering high quality food for consumers while reducing the wider environmental impact."

Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Agri-tech can help us address the biggest challenges facing the agriculture industry, such as eradicating crop pests and diseases for arable farmers without harming the wider environment."