Robots and future farm technology: Chelmsford

Past Event - booking closed

Fri, 13 December 2019

9:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Galleywood Heritage Centre, The Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford, Essex


Robots and future farm technology

Chelmsford Monitor Farm meeting

With the ever increasing need to look at labour on-farm, efficiencies of operations, reduction of inputs and decrease machinery costs, are the use of robots the future? 


The Small Robot Company is an innovative team at the forefront of this new technology. Hear from their inspirational co-founder, Sam Watson-Jones, about the technology available now and their vision for the future.

Learn about their developments, the practicalities of use on our Essex arable farms, cost impacts and the timelines for commercial use.

Tony Saunders, Managing Director of JSD Rail will also take us through the spray train that they use to spot-spray their rail tracks using the latest technology, initially developed from agricultural use. Hear how that operates, the practicalities and limitations and discuss what we can learn for our sector.

Join the discussion at the leading edge of future technology for our farms and businesses.


  • Registration with coffee and bacon roll
  • Welcome and introduction: Teresa Meadows, AHDB and Laura Bouvet, Agri-Tech East
  • Farm update: Christy and Hew Willett, Chelmsford Monitor Farmers
  • Robot needs for the future? Group discussion
  • Robots of the future – development and practicalities: Sam Watson-Jones, Small Robot Company
    • Robot development
    • Practicalities in an arable farm setting
    • Timelines of use
  • Refreshment break
  • Precision technology in practice: Tony Saunders, JSD Rail
  • The future for Parklands Farm – how/where can robots be incorporated? Group discussion
  • Meeting summary and close: Teresa Meadows, AHDB
  • Depart

About Chelmsford Monitor Farm

Christy and Hew Willett farm at Parklands Farm in Galleywood on the fringe of Chelmsford, Essex. This mother-and-son team farm in partnership across 475 ha of arable cropping, with a mixture of owned and rented land. Their rotation is typically two wheats followed by spring beans/OSR, although this has become more flexible since 2012 to include spring barley and spring oats, based on the condition of each field. The farm has recently moved to a strip-till system and is focussed on the significant challenge of grass weed management, including black-grass and ryegrass. Most of their wheat is destined for local millers. The farm has diversified into horse liveries, as well as office and industrial lets. Christy and Hew see their greatest challenge as keeping their cost of production as low as possible without sacrificing yield. They are keen to use benchmarking, on-farm trials and discussions from the Monitor Farm programme to improve and develop their farm business in these critical years for the industry.

For more information please visit the Chelmsford Monitor Farm page.

About Monitor Farms

AHDB Monitor Farms bring together groups of like-minded farmers who wish to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice around a nationwide network of host farms. AHDB organises and facilitates Monitor Farm meetings for farmers, who own and operate the scheme – by farmers, for farmers.

Monitor Farms are part of the AHDB Farm Excellence Programme. Each Monitor Farm project runs for three years.