GFM Network News


College adds ‘data lab’ to Smart Farm

Farm Credit Canada is donating $200,000 over the next four years for a “data lab” at Olds College’s Smart Farm. The lab is a technologically advanced workspace, available for students, instructors, and industry partners “to meet, collaborate and learn,” the college said in a news release. “The AgExpert Data Lab brings together data from our […] Read more

Cattle traceability app upgraded

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) is making it easier for producers to report mandatory traceability data and stay compliant with an improved Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) MOBO app. The upgraded and free app enables easy access to the CLTS database from Android and iPhone devices and is more user friendly than the basic […] Read more


CropChoice$ can forecast the profit potential — and help identify a Plan B — before you start seeding.

Updated version of CropChoice$ now available

Program offers profit scenarios for a variety of crops by using different yields and prices

The crop planning and risk management software program CropChoice$ has been updated with current crop insurance information from Agricultural Financial Services Corporation along with projected crop costs. “Producers can also adjust individual crop costs and evaluate the effects that different risk management strategies will have on their operation — such as purchasing crop insurance and […] Read more

A recent Farm Credit Canada survey showed producers’ attitudes toward sharing their data has shifted significantly.

Producers value farm data, but fear how it’s being used

An FCC survey found that one in four farmers has become less comfortable sharing data

The topic of data management tends to draw a lot of yawns from farmers. But in an increasingly digitized world, it shouldn’t. “This is one of the hottest topics in agriculture,” said Fred Wall, Farm Credit Canada’s vice-president of marketing. “It’s something that I think the industry needs to take very seriously.” And that shift […] Read more


The Pig Cough Monitor employs microphones in the barn and an algorithm to detect respiratory problems in pigs long before symptoms of the illness would be noticeable to humans.

‘Smart barn’ technology is on its way for pork producers

Sensors and software monitor pigs — and workers — in real time and in new ways

There is no argument new smart technologies are coming in swine production, says an expert in monitoring and task automation in livestock facilities. Tom Stein, senior strategic adviser for Quebec-based Maximus Systems, gave nine examples of “smart barn” technologies already in use or on the way at the recent Banff Pork Seminar. “One must remember, these […] Read more

Environmental Farm Plan sees upgrades

The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan is releasing a new version of its online tool. The online platform has already helped more than 1,000 farmers manage environmental risk across the province and will soon have an updated look and functionality. The new version is mobile friendly and a revamped FAQ section matches relevant resources with each […] Read more


You don’t see a lot of internet towers in rural Canada — which is why high-speed broadband is rare, too. The CRTC had promised to change that, but recently it quietly halved the speeds required to tap into a $750-million fund aimed at bringing fast internet to underserved parts of the country.

Fast internet? An urban reality but a rural myth

The CRTC has cut its rural internet speed targets in half — calling it ‘a significant first step’

It’s an issue that big-city bureaucrats can’t seem to wrap their heads around — an internet connection spread so thin that it’s nearly unusable during peak hours. But in rural Alberta, it’s an all-too-common problem. “The connection gets weaker and weaker the further you get away from the main corridor,” said Al Kemmere, president of […] Read more

There are a host of factors to consider before deciding on a solar photovoltaic system, says Erika Grintals of Solar Optix Energy Services, pictured here next to a 170.2-kW system using bi-facial modules installed at 
G + C Farms in Bow Island.

The sun doesn’t always shine on every solar project

It’s a good time to install a solar system, but you need to consider many factors before plunging in

If you’re a producer who has recently decided to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) array on your farm or ranch, your timing is right. Under the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry On-Farm Solar Voltaics Program, the provincial government is offering to cover up to 35 per cent of costs for producers building on-farm, grid-tied solar systems. […] Read more


Small-plot trials are designed to account for different variables, but producers put more trust in field-scale testing. Researchers are now developing protocols for conducting field-scale trials to see if they bear out the results from small-plot studies.

Scaling up: How to take small-size research from plot to field

Many farmers are skeptical of small-plot research results, 
but proper protocols are needed to scale up to a field level

Farmers are making some pretty big decisions off test strips — and that scares JP Pettyjohn. “We could flip a coin and pretty much come up with the same answer,” said Pettyjohn, a crop technology instructor at Lakeland College. “I don’t want an answer. I want the right answer.” Small-plot trials have been widely used […] Read more

The equipment was small (and old, in the case of the combine) but the goal of the Hands-Free Hectare project was to prove you could grow a crop without ever setting foot in the field.

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