We are strong on innovation at SBP. It is our fundamental belief that technological innovation will keep us at the forefront of the industry, future-proofing our business and delivering significant benefits to our growers and customers while also ensuring we play our part in safeguarding the environment. We are active partners with a number of research organisations while also investing in the best innovative technology and professional services.
This year we are working with the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO), the UK’s centre of excellence for peas and beans. The PGRO provides the industry with work-based research and authoritative up-to-date information. We have joined Fen Peas and Birds Eye in a collaborative project with PGRO researchers to model and predict crop maturity and yield using remote data. This has involved a PGRO researcher spending several weeks with our vining pea crew to immerse herself in our operations.
We are working with SAOS, the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, on an innovation project on efficiency and cost savings which starts in November, and have also won a bid to work with a research team at the University of Strathclyde. This project considers the issue of waste, in the form of pea husks and stems, and examines the role improved harvester cleaning will have on reducing the amount of field waste sent to the factory, thereby enabling factory product flows to increase.
Innovation is also at the core of our day-to-day operations. Our growers benefit from an investment in advanced technology, particularly through the use of GPS and telematics technology within our field systems. GPS is used in both tractors and viners, providing high accuracy guidance, while autosteer reduces soil compaction because machinery does not overlap its tracks. Additional benefits include hands-free guidance which reduces operator fatigue and improves safety.
Telematics combines telecommunications and infomatics, enabling us to monitor our viners’ performance remotely and comparing them with other comparable harvesters around the world. This brings a number of advantages including increased productivity, reduced operational costs and increased fuel efficiency.
The health and safety of our workforce is of paramount importance. In addition to using the best new technology to improve the operators’ work environment, we invest in advanced health and safety training. A new partnership with NFU Risk Management Services is taking this commitment to a new level and four days’ consultancy each year will ensure we maintain these standards.