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

A new consortium has been given nearly $50 million in federal funding to find ways to bring cutting-edge technology to Canadian farms. Among the tech being focused on is self-driving equipment (pictured is DOT Technology’s autonomous platform), robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytic, hyperspectral imaging, traceability systems, and “smart farms.”

Feds back $108-million push to automate farming

A consortium of groups, including three from Alberta, want to usher in a new era of advanced ag technology

It may not seem a priority given the weather and trade challenges farmers are facing — but now is the time to launch a new era of smart farms, AI, and robotics, say backers of a new $108-million tech fund. Ottawa is giving $49.5 million to the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN), and […] Read more


The DOT Autonomous Power Platform will be making its Alberta debut at Olds College AgSmart event on Aug. 13-14.

Event offers chance to get up close to leading-edge ag tech

Olds College offering hands-on demos and displays of the ‘latest and greatest’ in advanced technology

Ag technology is advancing faster than ever before — but farmers still aren’t always sure how to make these innovations work on their own operations. “Technology is such a huge component of agriculture going into the future. It’s making agriculture more sustainable, more productive and more profitable,” said Joy Agnew, director of applied research at […] Read more

St. Paul-area farmer Lynn Dargis developed the grain-pricing app to make it easier for farmers to compare grain prices.

Alberta producer creates an ‘Expedia for grain prices’

Farmbucks compares grain prices on offer from buyers in Western Canada

Lynn Dargis was fed up trying to compare grain prices last winter. A busy farmer with a 4,400-acre grain operation, 2,000-head feedlot, and three small children, Dargis didn’t always have time to log into each grain buyer’s website to find the best prices. But she also knew she couldn’t afford to leave money on the […] Read more


Walmart cited the contamination of romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona (pictured in this file photo) with E. coli when announcing its leafy greens suppliers will soon have to participate in a blockchain system. 
The contaminated lettuce from the Yuma area sickened more than 200 consumers in three dozen states this spring, and is blamed for five deaths. It took days to trace the lettuce back to the farms that grew it.

The brave new world of blockchain

Digital traceability has suddenly been thrust into the food sector

If there was ever any doubt that agriculture would someday run headlong into the blockchain space, it was quashed on Sept. 24. That was the day Walmart announced its leafy green suppliers would be required (in a year’s time) to participate in a blockchain-driven system providing full-chain traceability of their produce. In recent years, Bitcoin […] Read more

“The manufacturers in Canada have a very strong reputation globally for providing very high-quality implements and equipment.” – Leah Olson

Canada’s short line equipment makers on the cutting edge

These smaller manufacturers exported $1.8 billion of equipment and implements last year

If you’re frustrated that the big names in equipment manufacturing aren’t rolling out autonomous systems quickly enough, you may want to look a little closer to home. “With the clock ticking on when we’ll see autonomous farming become a commercial reality, my hope is that we’ll see Canadian manufacturers lead the way there,” said Leah […] Read more


Crop Protection ‘Blue Book’ goes mobile

The Blue Book has long been popular reading in the homes of Alberta farmers — and now they can read it anywhere on their smartphones. The Crop Protection book (as it is officially known) is updated annually for previously registered products and includes newly registered pesticide products — herbicides, pesticides, seed treatments, and foliar fungicides. […] Read more

Sophisticated computer programs, GPS tracking, and matching rations to cattle’s growth stage virtually eliminates waste, says UFA, distributor of a fully automated feed system.

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


Indiana farmer Kyler Laird posted this video in November after making a new remote control for his automated combine because he wanted something more user friendly than his laptop. In the video, he uses the joystick on the game controller to back the combine out of the shed, bring it alongside a grain cart, and then transfer grain to the cart. To find this and other videos by Laird, go to YouTube.com and search for ‘Kyler Laird.’ 
PHOTOS: From ‘portable joystick system’ on youtube.com

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

Norbert Beaujot was first inspired by autonomous cars but then had an idea for something much more radical — a cable-less platform that can carry different implements.

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