German farmers hear about the Smart Sprayer technology during Agritechica in Hanover.  |  xarvio photos

Smart Sprayer IDs and kills weeds on sight

A Smart Sprayer, equipped with boom-mount cameras coupled to Xarvio image recognition technology, can identify 20 species of weeds and trigger a surgically precise herbicide blast to one specific weed. Conventional blanket field coverage dumps millions of litres of unneeded herbicide on millions of prairie acres, which represents a tremendous financial waste for farmers. As […] Read more

Alex Thomasson, professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University, says the problem with some precision ag products is they don’t actually help growers answer questions and make decisions. | File photo

Precision ag struggling for full acceptance

Many new digital tools are not adopted yet as farmers wait to see a return on investment from technology

The term precision ag has been around for decades, and like other terms ubiquitously used, it can be difficult to know what someone means when they say it. To address this concern the board of the International Society for Precision Agriculture approved a definition of precision ag on June 20, which is as follows: “Precision […] Read more

Ceres Imaging started out using drone images in building precision ag maps, but quickly abandoned UAV technology in favor of good old fashioned Cessna 177 piloted aircraft. Ceres says the fixed wing plane gives it higher quality images than drones, and at a lower cost.  |  Cessna photo

Are airplanes taking over the hi-rez biz?

Veteran aerial photographers can roll out their trusty old Cessna 177 as leading precision ag mappers are dumping drone and satellite shots in favour of higher quality images from genuine piloted aircraft. The 177 has long been a favourite of aerial photographers. There’s no wing struts to get in the way of a good shot, […] Read more


Modern farming systems are capable of creating incredibly detailed profiles of fields, but can they provide detailed images of profits? Economists are of mixed views about this.  |  File photo

Big data creates big opportunities

Many pieces of farm machinery have been capable of collecting and storing agronomy and production data for more than a decade. Extracting usable and attractive tools for producers from all that information has proven challenging. The development of cloud computing and data storage, as well as the internet of things in which objects including farm […] Read more

This soils map of Manitoba rates agricultural capacity and is available on the website.  |  GIS4Ag image

Free access to Canada Land inventory soil maps

The Canada Land Initiative and National Soil Database hold massive volumes of valuable agriculture information. Unfortunately, nobody could access it until agronomist Simon Knutson took matters into his own hands. The Manitoba entrepreneur didn’t like the idea that a valuable, publicly funded database was not available to the public. There were no legal restrictions on […] Read more


The iPad view of FieldView.

Farmer data brought into one house for better usability

FieldView is a software platform often used on an iPad that allows farmers to bring all of their agronomic information into one spot. It enables growers to visualize their information in new ways and allows them to find insights that are difficult to see when the data is in raw form. “If you’re thinking of […] Read more

Wade Barnes of Farmers Edge Precision Consulting said  producers can make variable rate applications of inputs pay big  dividends.  |  Michael Raine photo

Farmers Edge takes hands-on approach to big data

Data is automatically collected and processed from sources such as on-farm weather stations and farm equipment

Farmers Edge’s approach is hands-on and wide-ranging. “We go directly on to the farm and we install our canplug, which is our telemetry data capture device, in all four-wheel vehicles on the farm. We install weather stations across the grower’s farm, we take soil samples across the grower’s farm, as those are all critical information […] Read more

Data from all farm sources can be seen in many ways, like this map.  |  File photo

Big data might equal bigger profits

It sounds like the opening line of a lame joke: three economists walk into an agricultural trade show and … It isn’t a joke. It’s something that happened to Keith Coble, agricultural economist at Mississippi State University, when he attended the Commodity Classic, an annual event for American corn and soybean growers. Coble and two […] Read more


David MacMillan, left, and Norm Lamothe started Deveron 2 1/2 years ago and have seen some large partners come on board, including Climate Corp. The drone services company provides producers with a fee-for-service aerial imaging and data coverage of their fields.  |  Michael Raine photo

The little plane that did

A farmer and a Toronto entrepreneur have taken their dream from door knocking to delivery in 2 1/2 years. Norm Lamothe and David MacMillan came together to lift agricultural aerial drones to the level of large-scale service provider. “When you have a family farm with limited acres you need another plan to ensure you have […] Read more

Registered users of the Saskatchewan Soil Information System will be able to upload photos or find studies done in specific areas.  |  SKSIS image

Soil mapping soon to be more usable

Digital platform provides access to information about Saskatchewan soils collected throughout the 20th century

The first phase of the Saskatchewan Soil Information System is expected to be launched for early 2018. The SKSIS is a digital platform that stores and allows access to information on Saskatchewan soils collected throughout the 20th century, including soil surveys. Angela Bedard-Haughn of the University of Saskatchewan said soil surveys are a great resource […] Read more