Sencrop to develop new disease modelling in vines at NIAB base - Fruit & Vine

Sencrop to develop new disease modelling in vines at NIAB base

As the European agri-tech company opens its first UK base at NIAB’s Barn4 AgriTech incubator in Cambridge, Sencrop is looking to make the most of viticulture research opportunities, such as developing new disease modelling in grapevines.

With its Southern European wine expertise, Sencrop is no stranger to viticulture and winemaking, a sector that has seen significant expansion in the UK in recent years. Mark Herriman, sales account executive at Sencrop, remarked: “The UK vineyard market is very exciting now. There are 900 vineyards, 500 of which operate on a commercial basis.

“It is partly climate change that is leading farmers to grow vines, but they are also taking advantage of soil types similar to those in the French wine regions. We will be developing new disease modelling with NIAB.”

NIAB digital account manager Charles Gentry added: “We are seeing more and more vineyards being planted. As these grow, it is the perfect opportunity to get invested in the right tech to help produce the best crop.”

Sencrop, which specialises in weather monitoring and crop disease forecasting, has been active in the UK for several years. However, the company has only recently opened its first UK facility at NIAB’s Barn4 AgriTech incubator in Cambridge, which offer great opportunities for collaboration, Mr Herriman said.

“It is a very positive step. NIAB has a long history of scientific research and Sencrop can help with bringing some of that research to farmers.

“For example, NIAB has been working on a potato yield model which could be integrated into the Sencrop app,” he added.

While the company has already released a potato blight decision support tool, NIAB’s data on the susceptibility of potato varieties to the disease could be used to refine the tool, Mr Gentry pointed out.

In working more closely with NIAB through Barn4, Sencrop hopes to grow its network of weather stations to benefit farmers. “We will have direct access to station information and will be able to feed local data to NIAB agronomists to aid their on-farm decision-making,” Mr Herriman said.

Sencrop has previously worked with groups like the British Beet Research Organisation on Cercospora leaf spot prediction and has recently joined forces with Frontier Agriculture to launch a UK-wide network of 480+ connected weather stations, helping farmers and agronomists make better management decisions.

Sencrop co-founder and general manager Martin Ducroquet said: “There are many opportunities to bring together the ag-weather data Sencrop gathers with NIAB’s UK farming know-how to create and improve agronomic indicators for arable crops like wheat, barley and oilseeds.

“This will allow growers to reduce their crop risks and agronomists to bring them a more personalised service.”

Mr Gentry noted that other than NIAB, there will also be opportunities to work with other agri-tech businesses using the Barn4 incubator. “It offers flexible office and lab space which allows start-ups to grow, and NIAB can help with any guidance needed on the UK agricultural market,” he said.

Commenting on the new developments, Mr Herriman said: “Having a UK base will bring lots of opportunities, and being able to collaborate with NIAB means there will be many exciting projects on the horizon.”

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