Students at Olds College will be learning what’s new in agricultural technology at the facility’s Smart Farm. (Photo contributed)

Students at Olds College will be learning what’s new in agricultural technology at the facility’s Smart Farm. (Photo contributed)

New agricultural technologies explored by students at Olds College

Olds College is launching a new SmartFarm program to help farmers and developers use new agricultural technologies.

The college launched Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network with GlacierFarm Discovery Farm and Lakeland College. It’s funded by the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network.

The first project will evaluate the function and connectivity of data measuring soil, climate and crop conditions at sites in three provinces.

Dr. Joy Agnew, associate vice-president of Applied Research at Olds College and principal investigator for the project, said, “Independent validation of ag technologies is critical… By joining with other partners, we’ll be providing farmers with information that will meaningfully inform their decisions about how and where to use sensor technology.”

Each project site has installed wireless sensors and devices that provide data including field monitoring, weather monitoring and forecasting, water management, disease modelling, insect monitoring and nutrition management.

Some sites will use the data to make management decisions like timing of fungicide on crops, and will evaluate the benefit of using data to manage those decisions.

Blake Weiseth, applied research lead at Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm said, “Being part of this project builds on our mandate to connect farmers with industry and research partners to find practical solutions to ag challenges.”

Work is underway to find additional smart farm network members across Canada. There will also be opportunities to link the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network with other smart farms around the world.

“With additional partners come additional opportunities in applied research and education that will help producers maximize technology and data,” says Agnew.

More information is available at oldscollege.ca/smartfarmnetwork.

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