A recent generation of the Dove satelite was on display at the Bayer Agronomy Summit in Banff, Alta., last year. | Robin Booker photo

Tiny satellites from Edge of the Planet

Winnipeg’s Farmer’s Edge partners with San Francisco’s Planet to get a Dove’s eye view of the field

A bird’s-eye view can provide intelligence about crop conditions that would otherwise be found only at harvest or by a combination of luck and labour. The problem is that in the past the birds didn’t fly every day. Canadian agronomy company Farmer’s Edge and San Francisco’s satellite imager Planet have joined forces to make new […] Read more

Brennan Turner of Farmlead.com says the company tries to keep the marketing platform easy to use.  |  Michael Raine photo

Website interface gets upgrade to please crop buyers, sellers

Brennan Turner is in the business of making farm tools easier to use. “That is the crux of any technology that you want farmers to use regularly,” said Turner, who runs Farmlead.com. “Make it easier to put to work whenever they need it or want it.” However, Turner doesn’t make machinery or precision agricultural equipment. […] Read more

John Church demonstrates a DJI Phantom 3 at the Canadian Bison Association field day near Chase, B.C.  |  Tom Walker photo

VIDEO: Drone use shows promise as ranch helper

Researchers look to ‘precision ranching’ to help cattle producers carry out basic tasks and pasture management

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Research designed to develop drones to help with routine ranch work has been given a $664,000 grant. John Church, Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, and his team are working with drones to carry out basic ranch tasks. Those include searching for, monitoring and herding cattle, […] Read more

A rooster who lost his feet to frostbite wears prosthetic legs designed 
by engineering student Doug Kondro, left. Kondro worked with Daniel Pang, right, a professor in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, on the project.  | University of Calgary photo

VIDEO: How Foghorn the rooster got new feet

After a couple of stumbles, a rooster named Foghorn is now putting his best foot forward, thanks to an engineering feat from the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine and school of mechanical engineering. Foghorn was a backyard chicken in Calgary who lost his feet due to frostbite. He was barely walking on bloody […] Read more

It’s a successful launch for the robotic AgEagle's designer, Bret Chilcott. Chilcott has sold about 140 and expects to sell another 500 to 700 this year. The motor of the AgEagle is at the back to reduce damage if it crashes. Chilcott designed the plane specifically for agriculture.

VIDEO: Farming from above

Crop scouting aircraft downloads pictures instantly to help farmers assess trouble spots

GWYNNE, Alta. — The joke in Bret Chilcott’s family was that the Kansas farm boy wasted all the money he earned working on his father’s farm on flying lessons and model aircraft. Chilcott has now combined his knowledge of farming, flying and model aircraft to design and build a plane to map agricultural land. “This […] Read more

University of Saskatchewan professor tries to explain economic benefits of technology on food production, safety and trade. | Dan Yates photo

Researcher examines obstacles to ag innovation

University of Saskatchewan professor tries to explain economic benefits of technology on food production, safety and trade

Stuart Smyth wears a few hats: university professor, researcher and, most recently, blogger. Smyth has launched a website, saifood.ca, in which he tackles hot button issues in the agriculture sector. Think genetically modified flax, rising chemical use on prairie farms and new crop trait approvals. A recent post about A & W’s “better beef” campaign, […] Read more

Big Data refers to the masses of information now capable of being produced by the monitors and sensors in farmers’ tractors, combines and other equipment. Service providers collect the information and then use computer analysis and human staff to note any problems or opportunities.
 | WP illustration

New technology vs. your right to privacy

Big Data comes with risks | Technology providers can learn more about your operation than you might think, warn experts

The race is on to make sure farmers are protected if they fall in love with Big Data. It might soon be too late to develop a farmer-focused approach that eliminates the greatest risks to farmers’ privacy and rights, say some U.S. farmer representatives. “If we’re going to get these issues right between farmers and […] Read more

Because pioneers had small farms, they knew the soil more intimately and could manage inputs more precisely, much like farmers attempt to do today with precision farming.  |  File photo

Auto guidance boasts deep agricultural roots

Reduce stress | Auto guidance systems pay for themselves by reducing overlap of seed, pesticides and nutrients

REGINA — Auto guidance began in the 1870s with patents for systems that would help farmers keep their furrows straight and crops evenly planted. Producers and the people who mechanized farming saw the need to remove human error, fatigue and skill from the operation of farm machinery, says researcher Rajiv Khosla. “And that’s still the […] Read more

App links farm data, info stays close at hand

Going mobile | Farm At Hand application can share farm data between phone and tablet devices and desktop computers

“Go, look over at the east place in the bins over there. I know there’s 3,500 bushels of durum around. If not there, then at that land we rented south of town in those bins.” “What year is the 9220? They need it at the parts counter?” “When does that delivery contract come up?” “That […] Read more

Answers to local questions easier to find

I attended a family function on the weekend — one of those milestone celebrations — and as these things do, it reminded me of how fast life changes. The attendance of a friend from west of Saskatoon took me back to the mid-1990s, when I took a day trip out to Biggar, Sask. Biggar was […] Read more