Agri-tech start-up recruited to help food producer increase biodiversity

Hull-headquartered Cranswick has have become one of the first businesses to install insect listening equipment on its outdoor pig farms in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

This specialist equipment has been developed by York-based pollination and insect biodiversity innovator, AgriSound, and will allow Cranswick to monitor insect activity and track pollination events on its farms, throughout the year.

It will provide vital information on the biodiversity of the area and how pig farming can play its part.

Casey Woodward, founder and CEO of Agrisound said: “Our PollyTM bio-acoustic devices are installed in key areas around the farms.

“Operating in a similar way to how a smart speaker functions, our devices are equipped with a microphone and environmental sensors, measuring temperature, light and humidity.

“Each one is completely solar powered. Polly listens 24/7 for the sounds of insects and uses advanced sound-analysis to translate the data into activity scores.

“These are automatically sent back to the cloud, where the farmer can view them via an app or web application.”

“This information, available in real time, can be used to target the introduction of pollinator-protection measures to the areas of greatest need, and also determine actions such as the planting of wildflowers or creating new habitats.”

Ash Gilman, director of agricultural strategy at Cranswick, said: “We are pleased to be working with AgriSound and getting an in-depth understanding of activity on our farms.

“Pollinators not only form a central part of our  ecosystem but are fundamental to the food cycle.

“The objective is to demonstrate how pigs can play a positive role within the rotation, benefiting soil health and carbon sequestration, as well as presenting new habitats to encourage and increase biodiversity.

“The insights from the first two months are very positive and we’re looking forward to learning more as we continue to monitor the devices.”

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