GFM Network News


Drawing on big databases and using AI to ‘scrape’ the internet produces info that ranchers can use to make better decisions faster, says David Wishart, an expert in both computing and biological sciences. The U of A professor is helping to develop an app that will put that treasure trove of info on a producer’s computer or smartphone in an easy-to-use form.

Would you like a supercomputer with your cattle herd?

Big Data: Armchair Rancher will harness the power of big data and AI, and give Alberta producers ‘a leg up’

Reading Time: 3 minutes The ‘ancestry.com’ of the cattle industry is in development — and the app could give Alberta ranchers a leg up on the rest of the industry. Livestock Gentec, in collaboration with Alberta Innovates and the University of Alberta’s David Wishart, is creating an app that will help ranchers make better and faster decisions on the […] Read more

Opinion: A tale of three cheeseburgers and a vision of farming turned upside down

Opinion: A tale of three cheeseburgers and a vision of farming turned upside down

Increasingly, conventional agriculture is viewed as a model that’s due for replacement

Reading Time: 3 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – Farmers are no stranger to new technology and are usually quick to adopt developments that can increase production, or at the very least reduce the risk of losses. Most are well aware that the digital age is likely to bring transformative change to agriculture and food — even if they aren’t quite […] Read more


Olds College’s Smart Farm has been working with Telus and other tech providers to create networks for its extensive array of technologies. The school is now partnering with the telco’s newly created ag unit.

Smart Farm partners with Telus Agriculture

Reading Time: < 1 minute Olds College has struck a $1-million partnership with Telus Agriculture that will see the school’s Smart Farm serve as a “living lab to conduct applied research and test the real-world application of new technology in a commercial-scale agriculture setting.” This includes evaluating technology such as internet-connected weather stations and field sensors in live conditions. Telus […] Read more

In-person networking at farm shows is still on the back-burner for now, but there are online opportunities to be had if you’re prepared to reach out.

Don’t put your networking on hold because you can’t meet in person

Making new contacts is as important as ever — here are four tips for networking virtually

Reading Time: 3 minutes You won’t be able to schmooze at events and conferences this winter, but it’s still important to network. However, it’s not easy, said Darlene McBain, who used to travel frequently in her job as manager of industry relations for Farm Credit Canada. Trying to build a network at her computer during the lockdown just felt […] Read more


It’s still years away but Olds College officials say they can see a day when linking their self-driving DOT power platform to sensors and algorithms will take farming to an entirely new level. Olds College

Go grab a coffee, the robots have got this

Future of Farming: Hook sensors, cameras, algorithms, and self-driving machines together, and farming becomes a new ball game

Reading Time: 5 minutes Just picture it: You’ve been watching your crop get rained on all week from your kitchen window, and it’s about time to do some crop scouting to see if you need to spray. But your farm is way ahead of you. Soil sensors have been monitoring moisture levels, and they’ve already called for reinforcements. A […] Read more

A goal for rural internet speeds set several years ago is 10 times faster than previously set goals, but the goalposts that define high speed are always moving.

Better rural broadband internet is coming — eventually

Ottawa is pledging $2 billion for fast rural internet, but how that money gets spent is the key question

Reading Time: 7 minutes Ottawa’s pledge to spend $2 billion to bring decent broadband service to rural and remote areas is welcome news, but the devil will be in the details, say officials in Alberta. “I’m encouraged to see the funding, but the full delivery of it is the next question — how will we be able to make […] Read more


More and more, farmers are using drones in their farm operations. But are they getting the most bang for their buck to assist them with cropping decisions?

Remote sensing: A few flyovers isn’t nearly enough

It takes years of data (and boots on the ground) to really understand what’s happening in a field


Reading Time: 3 minutes So you’ve bought yourself a drone and a spiffy new multispectral camera. Sounds fun. But what now? It’s true that images from camera-equipped drones can offer a moment-in-time snapshot of yield or emergence. But what if you wanted to use remote sensing for something a little more robust, such as measuring nutrient variability in your […] Read more

dot platform at agsmart

Pandemic speeding up adoption of technology

Online ordering and virtual contracts commonplace, traceability and autonomous machines getting new push

Reading Time: 5 minutes Like it or not, the farm of the future will run on technology — and that future has become ever closer because of COVID-19. “It’s been a pretty big disruption for a lot of businesses,” said Wes Anderson, senior fertility specialist at CropPro Consulting. “It has forced a lot of our clients to use technology […] Read more


AI is determining what to put on the shelves in the future, how much of it to have available and at what cost.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and it’s just getting started

The invisible tracking of our buying habits should challenge us so we are not defined by a database

Reading Time: 3 minutes I have been thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) and the impact it has on consumerism. AI is used to track your buying habits and predetermine your buying needs. It is also the robotics that clean fields or make cars, do complex surgery or make a digital diagnosis. It is the smart fridge that knows what […] Read more

An apt symbol of rural internet? An internet tower perched on an old wooden grain elevator in Onoway, Alta.

Pandemic pushes rural internet speeds to the breaking point

Notoriously slow already, rural internet has struggled with increased demand during the pandemic — and that isn’t likely to change any time soon

Reading Time: 6 minutes The internet on Monika Benoit’s northern Alberta farm was bad enough before the pandemic. Now it’s almost “non-existent.” “We sigh a lot,” said Benoit, who farms with husband Mike near High Prairie. “Even when there’s not a pandemic, we have internet issues. But with the isolation and social distancing protocols we’re supposed to be following, […] Read more