GFM Network News


Sure, drones draw a crowd, but like other farm tools today, they need to earn their keep by generating usable data that actually increases profits.

The farm data overload needs a fix

Ag tech event shows future of farming is data driven — but 'we're not there yet'

Jay Bruggencate has a bit of a bone to pick with the ag-tech industry. “We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into smart equipment that knows what it’s doing but can’t talk to each other,” said the Lacombe-area farmer at the recent AgSmart event at Olds College. “There’s so much data now available to us […] Read more

This photo, taken in the U.S., shows the type of view you get with virtually all drones; you could see someone in the yard but with no zoom capability, there's no peering into windows.

Don’t worry — drones aren’t built for spying

Despite what you may have heard, drones are too noisy, too tricky to manoeuvre, and too low resolution for spying

Markus Weber was out in the countryside taking aerial shots of some wind turbines when a gun-toting farmer drove up and accused him of spying with his drone. “It had occurred to me before the people might have privacy concerns, but that really drove home how little understanding there is of the capabilities of these […] Read more


Olds College president Stuart Cullum and former student Catalina Oitzl plant a soil and crop evaluation sensor 
to mark the official launch of the Olds College Smart Farm.

Students will find tomorrow’s technology today at ‘smart farm’

Operation will use tech ranging from drones 
and data analytics to multispectral imaging and AI

It’s not often you find yourself in the middle of a field with full Wi-Fi bars on your phone. But what else would you expect from a ‘smart farm?’ “This is the classroom coming alive,” said Jason Bradley, director of smart ag for Olds College. “The smart farm is a place where students can get […] Read more



Climate Corp. to partner with Canadian drone data firm

In a bid to bring its eye-in-the-sky views of clients’ fields closer to Earth, Monsanto’s Climate Corp. has struck up a partnership with a Canadian drone data provider. Climate on Nov. 15 announced an “official” partnership with Toronto-based Deveron UAS, which operates a fleet of drones serving farm clients across North America, to deliver “advanced” […] Read more

Farmers Edge expands satellite imagery offering

Farmers Edge says it’s making satellite imagery a practical and affordable agronomic tool for farmers through a new strategic partnership with Planet, the company with the largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites. “We think this will be game-changing,” Farmers Edge president and CEO Wade Barnes said in an interview Oct. 3. “I think it’s going to […] Read more


Federal rules tightened for recreational drone use

Citing recent “reckless use of drones that is putting the safety of Canadians at risk,” the federal government has set up new temporary rules limiting where and when drones can be flown for the heck of it. Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Thursday announced an interim order with new rules for the recreational operation of […] Read more

The big payback from drones will come when software can analyse data and recommend practical, effective remedies, says Markus Weber of LandView Drones.

The last big challenge for drones

Advanced technology to spot disease, pest, and health issues early on is already here — 
but using that data still has many challenges

Sure, drones are cool and all. But when it comes to your farm, it’s all about the data they gather — and figuring out how to use all that info. “Ultimately, that is what’s going to change the way we manage our crops, by giving us better information about them,” Markus Weber, president of Edmonton-based […] Read more


Field schools offer expert advice, but the person standing next to you probably has some great tips, too.

Take a break and grab some agricultural learning

Summer’s always busy but getting away from 
the farm for a day can really pay off

It’s back-to-school season for farmers with a spate of field schools and workshops coming up following the end of seeding. Here are three reasons to spend a day away from the farm and at school: No. 1: It pays Field days are not just about listening to the experts, they’re also events where farmers are […] Read more

Ventus Geospatial uses different types of UAVs for different purposes, including this Aeryon Scout that costs around $80,000. For agriculture, the company typically uses a fixed-wing SenseFly eBee, which runs in the range of $30,000.

Small farm ‘toys’ pack a mighty punch

Drones are getting off the ground in Alberta, in no small part thanks
to their practical applications on livestock and grain farms

Drones may seem like a fun toy — but on the farm, these fancy fliers mean business. “At the end of the day, you want better information to make better decisions, and that’s what they give you,” said Steve Myshak, owner of Ventus Geospatial in Lethbridge. “That’s the bottom line on why you want to […] Read more