Playing cupid to cows isn’t what you’d call a traditional agricultural job, but agri-tech company SellMyLivestock aren’t ones for doing things the conventional way.

The UK-based start-up made headlines around the world last Valentine’s Day after they launched ‘Tudder’, a Tinder-inspired dating app designed to help farmers match potential partners for their cattle.

By swiping right on cows they liked the look of, farmers were taken through to the SellMyLivestock website, where they were able to look at more photos and information about the animal, before deciding if they might like to bring them home to meet their bull.

It…


For the majority of UK consumers, when it comes to food, the coronavirus pandemic will be defined by empty supermarket shelves, long queues, and a rediscovered love for home baking.

But while supply chains may have responded quickly to increased demand and changing shopping habits, the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on our food systems are less straightforward.

One thing that is for certain, according to John Giles, senior agri-food consultant at Promar International, is the economic recession caused by the pandemic will prevent food shopping and consumption from going entirely back to normal — even when some sense of normal…


Growing vegetables in thin air might sound like something from a sci-fi film, but for British agri-tech start-up LettUs Grow, this is farming fact, not fiction.

Concerned by growing demands on natural resources and staggering levels of food waste around the world, Bristol University graduates Jack Farmer, Ben Crowther and Charlie Guy set about finding a way to streamline food production using processes that would reduce waste, slash inputs and increase yields.

Combining their expertise in engineering and plant science, they decided to make use of a technique called aeroponics — a vertical farming process that grows crops without soil…


From dairy farmers tipping away millions of litres of milk to crops going unpicked thanks to staff shortages, there have been few — if any — UK farm businesses who haven’t been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

For an industry that has already been dealing with uncertainty caused by Brexit, climate change and global market volatility, the challenges caused by COVID-19 are yet another reminder of how fragile our food systems can be.

And with the effects of the pandemic likely to be felt not just in agriculture but across the wider economy for many months to come, it’s a…


An online subscription service which delivers milk to Bollywood stars has helped an entrepreneurial farming family build one of the biggest dairies in India.

Parag Milk Foods processes and hand-delivers chilled milk from its dairy farm in Manchar to almost 50,000 consumers across some of India’s biggest cities.

Sold under its Pride of Cows brand, the service — which is only available by invite — has won high-end fans including actors, celebrity chefs, bloggers and well-known businesspeople.

And to be part of the exclusive clientele list, all of them are prepared to pay Rs120 (£1.40) …


From burping cows to grazing sheep, when it comes to global warming the finger of blame is invariably pointed at the livestock industry these days.

Animal agriculture is causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to rise, say critics, and if we’re serious about tackling climate change then we need to cut red meat from our diets and switch cow’s milk for nut juices in our tea.

It’s an argument that’s gained a significant amount of traction, with more and more people adopting vegan diets in response to repeated reports — including from the United Nations — that livestock are a major…


When it comes to high-yielding soya production, the Netherlands probably isn’t the first country that springs to mind.

But a group of innovative Dutch growers are proving that farmers in northwestern Europe have the soils, climate and skills to produce soya crops to even rival those grown in South America.

Jolande Raaijmakers and her husband Ad are members of a 90-strong cooperative of farmers across the Netherlands who between them planted 475ha of soya beans last year.

Having traditionally focused on growing lilies, wheat, barley, maize and alfafa on their 100ha in Best, southern Netherlands, the Raaijmakers first decided to…


People living in Scotland’s Western Isles once went without milk for their coffee for two whole weeks. One entrepreneurial — some might even say heroic — dairy farmer is making sure that never happens again.

A crofting family has become some of the most northerly dairy farmers in the UK by bringing milk production back to Scotland’s Western Isles.

Gordon Mackay, his wife Colleen and son Scott have restored local milk deliveries to islanders who haven’t been able to get fresh milk for their cornflakes since the last dairy farm closed in Stornaway in 2012.

They hope that milk from their 60-head herd of Guernsey and Ayrshire cattle at Moorpark Dairy, South Bragar, will provide a profitable future for their family, whilst eventually helping them offer jobs for locals too.

Having spent most of his…


From yields to farm equipment, for decades farmers have toiled away under the impression that bigger is always better when it comes to food production.

But for one engineering expert, encouraging farmers to turn their back on big kit could be the answer to more profitable, sustainable and productive agriculture.

For many years, Simon Blackmore, professor of engineering at Harper Adams University, has been focusing his research on how farm machinery can help answer the challenge of feeding the world.

He is now convinced that small can definitely be beautiful, and he’s trying to encourage arable farmers to start thinking…


At first glance, the Netherlands doesn’t seem like the type of country which should top the league tables in agricultural production.

With an area of just 41,500km2 — including 7,800km2 of open water — and a population of only 17m, it appears to lack the people or resources necessary for large-scale production.

Yet despite its diminutive size, the Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of food in the wold — trailing only behind the United States, which is 270-times its landmass.

In 2017 it broke its own export records by exporting €91.7bn in agricultural goods, along with a further €9.1bn in…

Caroline Stocks

UK journalist currently in the US • Writes about food, agriculture and the environment • Ag policy nerd •

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