Smart Farm

In the summer of 2018, Olds College launched the Olds College Smart Farm, an exciting initiative that has seen the College transform into a farm of the future. By incorporating the latest technologies aimed at improving productivity, while efficiently and sustainably using resources, the Smart Farm is a cutting-edge learning environment for students and life-long learners.

A living lab for hands-on learning, it is a place for innovation, validation, demonstration and scaling of smart connected agriculture technology through industry partnerships. Features of the Smart Farm encompass installing new technologies, including stationary soil monitors, digital weather stations, wireless grain bin sensors, a wireless mesh network that provides Wi-Fi to the entire farm, and rural narrowband connectivity to ensure high-quality internet.

The Smart Farm has incorporated farm management software platforms that gather, store, and visualize production and management data, while utilizing data analytics and machine learning to turn data into information and information into knowledge. By partnering with expert agronomists who serve as agronomic coaches to help analyze the data, the Smart Farm is using the technologies and data gathered to make evidence-based decisions to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability.

To properly analyze data, plan for future growing seasons, and collaborate with students, industry partners, and producers, the College required a dedicated space in which stakeholders can meet and data can be processed. This space was created within the former President’s House and has been named the Olds College Smart Ag Innovation Centre (SAIC). The new facility includes a number of elements that are designed to contribute to the academic excellence of students, bolster applied research, decrease the environmental footprint of the Smart Farm, and be an industry leader in Smart Agriculture.

Features of the SAIC include:

  • The UFA Ag Innovation Lab, an interactive creative workspace that allows for teams to use powerful collaboration tools in meetings and breakout sessions. The UFA Ag Innovation Lab includes state of the art technology, including a 4K 85-inch touchscreen computer and an e-beam interface that allows work displayed on the whiteboard walls within the room to be captured into documents to be used in later discussions.
  • The Data Centre is an interactive space that provides technologies that allow for interaction between humans and data. It is used primarily for processing and analyzing data collected on the Smart Farm and includes a wall of four 45” computer display monitors, a 55-inch computer display,  and a table-top touch screen computer.
  • The Ag Investment Lab uses a Google Jamboard and the newly released Google Meet capabilities, creating a space for physical and virtual interaction between venture capital investors and start-ups involved in Olds College Smart Farm. It is also a collaborative space for student groups, faculty, staff and industry to work on projects.

Prior to renovations, the modest bungalow housed seven different Olds College principals and presidents, from 1950 up until 2017. Today, it truly is a representation of a farm house of the future —  a traditional bungalow on the outside, and a technology powerhouse on the inside.

Phase One - Crop Technology

Phase one of the Smart Farm focuses on crops. Working with industry partners from the agriculture and technology sectors, we are incorporating the latest technologies aimed at improving productivity while efficiently and sustainably using resources. The goal is to produce more, using less. The Smart Farm features:

  • stationary soil monitors
  • digital weather stations
  • evaluating soil and crops using spectroscopy and multispectral imaging along with artificial intelligence neural nets to help determine the differences in healthy and unhealthy plants, and the causes for health deterioration
  • wireless grain bin sensors
  • a wireless mesh network that will provide wi-fi to the entire farm
  • equipment monitoring and control for best practice precision agriculture, including the use of monitors and controls on contractor equipment to gather data.
  • the use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
  • rural narrowband connectivity to will ensure high quality internet connectivity
  • incorporating farm management software platforms that gather, store, and visualize production and management data
  • utilizing data analytics, machine learning, and AI to turn data into information, and information into knowledge
  • partnering with expert agronomists who will serve as agronomic coaches to help analyze the data

The Olds College Smart Farm will expand to encompass the entire Olds College Farm, with phase two focusing on livestock.

View Full Smart Farm Map  View Photo Gallery

Smart Farm Map

Thank you to our Olds College Smart Farm Partners

Farm Credit CanadaTelusUFA
  • Trimble