UK Cows Dodge Bird Flu, But Can Tech Save Livestock?

Skynews reported that American dairy herds are being affected by an outbreak of bird flu. However, in the UK cows are not being tested for bird flu. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said that the current reports of the H5N1 virus in UK birds and poultry are low, and they don’t believe that cattle are at risk.

DEFRA mentioned they are closely monitoring the situation in the US and working with international partners to understand the outbreak.

To contain the virus, the US Department of Agriculture has implemented new rules, requiring lactating cattle to test negative before moving between states. Although the virus has adapted to survive in cattle cells, it’s primarily a bird virus, and the risk to humans is still considered low.


Why Farming Is Crucial In The UK


Farming plays a significant role in ensuring food security for the nation’s population. By cultivating crops and raising livestock domestically, the country can have a steady supply of fresh and locally produced food items. This reduces reliance on imports and ensures resilience against external factors such as supply chain disruptions.

Farming also contributes to the economy by generating revenue and creating jobs. The agricultural sector provides employment opportunities for a significant portion of the population. Agriculture also contributes to the overall economic output through the sale of agricultural products and related industries like food processing and distribution.

Farming plays a vital role in environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation. Proper management of farmland provides habitats for various plant and animal species, contributing to overall ecosystem health.

Practices like crop rotation, sustainable land management, and agroforestry help minimise environmental degradation, preserve soil fertility, and reduce carbon emissions, thus supporting the UK’s commitments to environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation.

Farming is also essential for maintaining cultural heritage and rural landscapes. Traditional farming practices, along with landscapes such as rolling hills, hedgerows, and pasturelands, contribute to the UK’s cultural identity and attract tourists.


How Is Tech Revolutionising UK Farming?


Technology is rapidly changing the agricultural landscape in the UK, leading to significant improvements in efficiency, sustainability, and productivity. Here are some ways in which technology is revolutionising farming:


1. Precision Farming:


With the help of advanced sensors, drones, and GPS technology, farmers can now monitor and manage their fields precisely. This enables them to apply fertilisers, pesticides, and water in a targeted manner, which optimises resource usage and reduces waste.


2. Automation:


Farmers are increasingly using robotics and automation systems for tasks like planting, harvesting, and weeding. This not only reduces the reliance on manual labor but also ensures greater accuracy and consistency in farming operations.


3. Data Analytics:


Big data analytics is now being used by farmers to make informed decisions about crop management. By analysing factors like weather patterns, soil conditions, and crop performance, they can optimise planting schedules, predict yields, and mitigate risks.


4. IoT and Smart Farming:


Internet of Things (IoT) devices like soil moisture sensors and smart irrigation systems allow for real-time monitoring and control of farm operations. This enables farmers to remotely manage their farms, detect issues early, and respond promptly to changes in conditions.


5. Vertical Farming:


In urban areas where land is scarce, vertical farming techniques are being used to maximise space and productivity. By using controlled environments and hydroponic systems, crops can be grown year-round in vertical stacks, reducing the need for arable land and minimising environmental impact.


6. Biotechnology:


Advances in biotechnology, including genetically modified crops and gene editing techniques, are improving crop resilience, yield, and nutritional content. These innovations have the potential to address challenges such as pest resistance, climate change, and food security.


7. Blockchain Technology:


Blockchain technology is being explored to increase transparency and traceability in the agricultural supply chain. By recording transactions and data at every stage, from farm to fork, blockchain can help ensure food safety, quality, and authenticity.


8. AgriTech Startups:


The rise of agri-tech startups is driving innovation in the agricultural sector, with a focus on sustainability and efficiency. These startups are developing solutions for challenges such as soil health, crop monitoring, and farm management, contributing to the overall modernisation of farming practices.

Companies Transforming The Livestock Industry


Innovative technology companies are transforming the agriculture and livestock industries by implementing advanced machinery, drones, and data analytics. These firms optimise farming practices, improve productivity, and enhance animal welfare. From precision agriculture to smart farming solutions, technology is changing the way we produce food and care for livestock in efficient and sustainable ways.


1. vHive

The University of Surrey recently launched the UK’s first animal health-focused startup incubator, vHive. In collaboration with Zoetis, a leading global animal health company, vHive offers startups a supportive environment to develop innovative pet and livestock care technologies.

The inaugural cohort comprises five startups, each pioneering products to enhance animal wellbeing. Participants benefit from industry guidance and business support from SETsquared Surrey, fostering growth without relinquishing equity. With a multidisciplinary approach and comprehensive business assistance, vHive facilitates entrepreneurial success in the booming animal health market.


2. Dyneval


Dyneval offers the first semen analyser capable of measuring semen lifetime, providing insights for better fertility understanding.

Dyneval provides easy-to-use, automated instruments for accurate semen analysis, revolutionising livestock reproduction and artificial insemination practices. Their mission is to improve fertility performance and sustainability in livestock reproduction through innovative AI technology.


3. Swarm Ops


Swarm Ops leads the UK’s agricultural drone sector, offering Drone as a Service (DaaS). With CAA approval, they provide spraying, spreading, and seeding services to various sectors.

Their drones enable precision farming through mapping, surveillance, and remote sensing, empowering farmers with critical insights for informed land management decisions.



AGRIVI aims to tackle global food issues by digitising agriculture, empowering farmers with data-driven decision-making. Their platform offers real-time agronomic insights, promoting best-growing practices and crop management. They foster collaboration across the agri-food value chain, emphasising sustainability, food safety, and profitability.

AGRIVI provides comprehensive digital solutions for farms, food companies, and other stakeholders to support their digital transformation projects.






INCYT, an innovative IoT company, offers a range of products designed for various industries, including agriculture. Their product range includes trackers, controllers, and smart devices aimed at enhancing productivity and decision-making.

With user-friendly features and a ‘Plug ‘n Play’ setup, INCYT’s solutions, like INCYT Agriculture and INCYT Track, provide peace of mind to users worldwide.