Latest articles


Still just taking pretty pictures? Drones could be making you money

It’s taken a while but more and more producers are discovering ways to boost their profits with drones

Mike Barrett was trying to find a practical use for a pricey toy when he decided to fly his drone over his feedlot to count his cattle. That was when his purchase paid off. “With the average gain of the cattle, we easily paid for the drone in the first year that we counted that […] Read more


Things go better with standard operating procedures

All sorts of companies have so-called SOPs — because they save time and grief, and empower employees

Pilots complete checklists before every flight, even when flying the same plane several times a week. Farm equipment operators, on the other hand, often rely on their memory from 11 months ago when they start up the air drill or other equipment at the beginning of a new season. Some farm owners and managers, however, […] Read more



Fully automated feeding — the rise of the machines

Technology that handles everything from feed formulation to delivering it to cattle is becoming ubiquitous

Ken Van Raay remembers how things used to be at his 30,000-head feedlot. It required a lot more co-ordination, that’s for sure. In his previous system, Van Raay dealt with his local feed mill on the phone; spent more time on the road; managed pelleting, storage, blending and monitoring micro-ingredient levels in bins; and generally […] Read more


Steel tariffs could rebound on farmers here

It’s not clear what impact tariffs will have on farm equipment but any increase will likely be passed on

It’s unclear if the new steel tariff proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump could be bad news for Canadian producers when it comes time to buy new farm equipment. If the tariffs are imposed, U.S. manufacturing companies would pay 25 per cent more for imported steel and 10 per cent more for imported aluminum, unless […] Read more



Robo-tractors invented by farmers are already here

Software-savvy producers aren’t waiting for equipment makers — they’re writing code and automating their machines

Kyler Laird did it the John Deere way when he returned to the family farm in Indiana after his father’s death in 2010. But after five years of sitting in a tractor, planting crooked rows of corn, he decided to do it his way instead. “Even when I was a kid out discing or out […] Read more


Meet DOT: the self-driving power implement

A Saskatchewan-based company has developed an autonomous tractor — minus the tractor

Bigger doesn’t always mean better — but that’s been the story of farm machinery for decades. However, could the era of huge, hulking tractors and the big implements they pull be coming to an end? Norbert Beaujot thinks so, even though the founder of SeedMaster spent most of his career building some of those increasingly […] Read more



Are you ready to step out of the cab forever?

Special Report: Will farming make a u-turn? Those long, long hours seeding can be drudgery but watching fields being sown on a tablet is brand new territory

Autonomous farm equipment would not only radically change how crops are produced, but the lives of farmers themselves. Norbert Beaujot thinks they will embrace being freed from the tractor cab. “At one end of the scale you get the young, 35- to 40-year-old farmer who really wants to get going with anything new and high […] Read more


No internet, no problem, says DOT developer

Special Report: Will farming make a u-turn?

If you don’t have good internet, would the DOT platform work on your farm? No problem, said Owen Kinch, field research manager with SeedMaster, the developer of the driverless machine. A high-power, high-range Wi-Fi network comes as part of the DOT package, with SeedMaster essentially acting as the internet service provider, he said. “The user […] Read more



Pulling needs lots of horsepower, and that means more weight

Special Report: Will farming make a u-turn?

The developer of the DOT Autonomous Power Platform says it will substantially reduce soil compaction and cut fuel usage by up to 20 per cent. It’s just physics, said Norbert Beaujot. “There is a big waste in pulling something versus having it mounted onto the body of the prime mover,” he says. “(Pulling) burns more […] Read more


The automated future has arrived, says robotic farming expert

British researcher showcases the ‘Hands-Free Hectare’ project at Farming Smarter conference

Farming using only robots may sound like something out of the year 2050 — but the producers of a barley crop in the United Kingdom argue it’s here now. Researchers at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, along with a U.K. precision ag company successfully grew a crop using only automated machines as their farmhands. […] Read more