GFM Network News


The vast majority of irrigators have adopted precision ag technology and more will follow as costs fall, says University of Lethbridge economist Lorraine Nicol.

Precision agriculture means less is more for irrigators

Technology has boosted yields while cutting both water use and inputs, says University of Lethbridge survey

Very few studies have examined precision agriculture in Canada, but a new one from University of Lethbridge researchers has put some numbers on the benefits. And they’re big — both in terms of reducing inputs and in boosting yields. Last fall, economists Lorraine Nicol and Chris Nicol surveyed irrigators in the Taber Irrigation District and […] Read more

There’s no shortage of data on today’s farms but the most important number — profit per acre — is not easy to determine.

The search for a ‘win-win’ solution to unprofitable acres

Precision agriculture meets precision conservation in ongoing profitability mapping research

Farming and farmland conservation sometimes seem at odds with each other — a win for one is seen as a loss for the other. After all, taking land out of production for conservation purposes is seen as a loss of productive farmland, while the ecological community sometimes views intensive ag production as a threat to […] Read more


Drones certainly take stunning pictures – like this one from a wheat harvest – but Bruce Farms has moved beyond the “fun factor” and learned how to make money off the unmanned aerial devices, says Mike Barrett.

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

‘Clean’ tech adoption up for federal funding

Provinces and territories can apply starting April 1 for chunks of a three-year, $25 million federal fund to support programs that encourage on-farm adoption of precision ag tools or use of renewables from ag waste. Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Monday launched the fund, to flow through what’s dubbed the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) […] Read more


You can find an old red barn on the grounds of Olds College, but the school is planning to be a leader in the cutting-edge world of ‘smart agriculture.’

Olds College to become a hub for ‘smart agriculture’

A new $32-million institute is being created to put the college on the bleeding edge of high-tech agriculture

You’ve heard about precision agriculture. Now get ready for what leading educators and thinkers are calling the next step beyond precision ag — smart agriculture. Smart agriculture, as it is defined today, is the optimization of technology and science for the efficient use of land and water for both economic and environmental sustainability. If it […] Read more

How the new Werklund Institute will work

The plan includes a business incubator, ‘thought leader,’ mentorship program, and a new approach to teaching

The Werklund Agriculture Institute is currently in its pilot stages and expected to start up in 2019. It will feature four key components: Werklund Growth Centre: a hub for companies, entrepreneurs, investors and students to access college land and facilities for development, scaling, and demonstration of smart agriculture technologies, products, and services. This is something […] Read more


Two members of the Farming Smarter research team collect seed samples for a field-scale trial.

Doing your own research? Then keep it simple

You can collect lots of data but much of it may be of no use — or worse, it might lead you down the wrong path

There’s a big world of information out there today, more so than ever before. When it comes to precision ag, universities, applied research institutions, governments, and companies all have their own research recommending everything from the best VRT settings to the right seed depth in specific soil profiles. And all those reams and reams of […] 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


Greig: Farmer trust key to big data’s future

The marketplace for precision agriculture technology is sorting itself out, but it still has a way to go before it will be mature and have predictable uses for farmers, says a U.S. agriculture economist. Dr. Keith Coble, chair of the Mississippi State University’s department of agricultural economics, says we’re in the “overexuberance” phase of technology […] Read more

Most farmers have the basic tools for precision ag, but aren’t diving too deep into practices such as variable rate just yet.

Most Prairie farmers taking a wait-and-see attitude to precision ag

A new online survey found just about everyone uses GPS but less than half 
use advanced imaging and variable rate

Prairie farmers are casting glances at precision ag, but not embracing it yet, a new survey suggests. The online 42-question survey commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada didn’t get a big response — 261 producers participated — but it offers a glimpse into how farmers view the highly touted technology. The poll found adoption of […] Read more