August 11, 2022 6.00 am This story is over 22 months old

Sprout shows the future of robots at Lincolnshire farm

Sprout may just be the answer to labour shortages

‘Sprout’ is a £500,000 robot paving the way for future farming methods and it’s currently working hard at a farm in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

The National Farmers Union says 70,000 fruit and veg pickers are needed, but only 40,000 visas have been given to foreign workers and there aren’t enough British people willing to step in.

Florian Richter, from Muddy Machines, who make the robot, said: “It works longer – this machine is half as fast as a human but it can work twice as long, working through the night.”

Tim Casey, a Coningsby farmer, added: “It’s just getting increasingly difficult – there’s just so many days when people don’t turn up or they do it for a week and decide they’ve had enough – you’ve got to find more people again.”

‘Sprout’ works slower than a human but can work twice as long, without a decline in performance. | Screenshot: BBC Look North/BBC News Hub

The robot could fix labour issues for good. | Screenshot: BBC Look North/BBC News Hub

Professor Simon Pearson, University of Lincoln, says: “There might be an option where some farms buy them, maybe that will be the bigger farms, but we are certainly going to see see a rent-a-robot service.”

However there is a downside as robots begin to appear in the fields, as flower growers may not pay manufacturers to develop machines for certain crops, and as a result some species of flowers will go extinct.