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Smart Farm Articles

  • Highlighting Crop Research & Environmental Stewardship Teams March 06, 2023

    With 3,600 acres of farmland to work with, the Crop Research team at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is able to perform in-field crop research with small plots trials and full-field commercial scale investigations.

    Olds College is also dedicated to Environmental Stewardship which encompasses water resource management, land management, renewable and green energy, carbon management, by-product development and utilization, air quality management, and green infrastructure development. Read more about these talented teams of researchers that are moving crop research and environmental stewardship forward!...more

  • Using Drones and Machine Learning for Lodging Assessment January 09, 2023

    Author: Felippe Karp, PhD candidate from McGill University

    Lodging can cause cereal yield losses of 7 to 35% also affecting post-harvest conditions and the quality of the grain (Strydhorst et al., 2018). Therefore, it is important to develop varieties and management practices to reduce the probability of this issue. However, having the tools that allow an accurate lodging assessment, especially at field scale levels, is essential. ...more

  • Highlighting the Research Team at the Technology Access Center for Livestock Production (TACLP) January 09, 2023

    Addressing industry priorities, the TACLP gives livestock producers, technology developers, and small and medium-sized enterprises access to facilities, emerging smart agriculture technologies, testing services, research expertise and training opportunities.

    Read more about the talented team of researchers at the TACLP working to move the livestock industry forward....more

  • Risk Planning for the Crop Season January 09, 2023

    Throughout this year, Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is collaborating with industry partner Algo-Rythmn Corp. to enhance market and financial risk management innovations in agriculture. One goal of this partnership is to enhance public knowledge and awareness of risk management strategies, and offer farmers sufficient resources and information to protect their livelihood.

  • Exploring Nofence Collars: Livestock Research September 08, 2022

    Rotational grazing systems can help maximize soil health and pasture productivity, but are hard to implement due to labour shortages and infrastructure costs. To help farmers overcome these challenges, researchers at the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology performed a test in August 2022 with a virtual fencing system to understand how beef cattle respond to the technology....more

  • Smart Farm Operations - Dedication to the Farm Team September 08, 2022

    The Smart Farm at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology wants to highlight and acknowledge the ‘behind the scenes’ technical and logistical expertise on the farm team. They’re involved in every aspect of keeping the Smart Farm operating, thriving, and ready for applied research and student experience activities! ...more

  • Exploring & Understanding More on Grain Yield Forecasting September 08, 2022

    In-season yield prediction has multiple applications in precision agriculture. Thus, the Digital Ag Team at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology has continued the evaluation of this tool as a component of the HyperLayer Data Project....more

  • Field Crop Development Centre: Summer 2022 Overview September 07, 2022

    The Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology enjoyed a busy summer. Planting was finished mid-May and the growing season started out extremely dry. Although there was little subsurface moisture as a result of the previous drought last year, plant emergence at FCDC locations were still reasonable....more

  • Farm Risk Management using Futures Contracts September 07, 2022

    The agricultural markets are dependent upon the supply and demand balance of the underlying commodity. As a result, farmers are exposed to price volatility stemming from dynamic factors such as weather conditions, disease, geopolitical risk, storage and shipping complications. In an industry where small price fluctuations can have a big impact on profitability — risk management is extremely important! ...more

  • New Varieties from FCDC at Olds College June 01, 2022

    Currently, there are five varieties that the Olds College Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) is in the process of signing licensing agreements with industry partners. Watch for these exciting new varieties coming into the market soon....more

  • Developing a Financial Risk Management Plan for your Farm June 01, 2022

    Before each planting season, farmers must make crucial decisions about what crops to plant and what seeding rates, fertilizer, and other input levels to use. These decisions are made months before crop yields and prices are known, leaving farmers exposed to unpredictable factors such as weather, pests, and socio-economic issues that impact supply and demand at harvest. ...more

  • Understanding & Measuring ‘Mobile Network Connectivity’ for Smart Farming March 14, 2022

    The demand for food is increasing alongside a growing population. Digital farming and smart ag technologies — autonomous equipment, sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics — will play a large role in the future of sustainable agricultural production. However, smart ag technologies are reliant on connectivity. ...more

  • Grain Yield Forecast on the Smart Farm February 01, 2022

    Written by: Alex Melnitchouck, Ph.D., P.Ag., Chief Technology Officer, Olds College

    Setting up right yield goals and forecasting yield during the growing season is the Holy Grail of precision agriculture. Both USDA and Statistics Canada, as well as some private companies, forecast grain yield during the growing period at the country scale, using remote sensing data, and they do it quite accurately....more

  • FCDC’s First Growing Season with Olds College November 24, 2021

    The Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) at Olds College was in full swing for the 2021 planting and growing season. FCDC — located in Lacombe, Alberta — breeds new varieties of malting barley, feed and forage barley, and spring and winter triticale supported by pathology, quality, and biotechnology labs. ...more

  • Reviewing OMNiPOWER’s Second Season on the #OCSmartFarm November 23, 2021

    Finishing its second year of using autonomous agriculture equipment, the Olds College Smart Farm was able to get A LOT more comfortable with OMNiPOWER by collecting data on a total of 60 missions seeding, spraying, spreading and training across 5,408 acres in partnership with Carlson Ag, Gatez Farms Ltd. and Pattison Farms. ...more

  • Work-Integrated Learning on the Smart Farm August 30, 2021

    Providing meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities while benefiting from new skill sets and fresh perspectives — the makings of a successful partnership this year between Olds College and 12 enthusiastic agriculture students. ...more

  • Floating Island Technology for Livestock Water Remediation August 30, 2021

    Olds College researchers are evaluating the economic and environmental benefits of using native wetland plants and floating island technology to remediate feedlot runoff water. This research aims to effectively improve water quality for irrigation or livestock use by removing nutrients, heavy metals, and other contaminants — as well as minimizing the presence of algae blooms. Feedlot operators could access alternative, low-cost options for treating feedlot runoff water while being environmentally sustainable. ...more

  • Satellite Imagery on the Smart Farm August 30, 2021

    By Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Ag, Olds College

    Olds College Smart Farm uses a wide range of leading edge technologies which help to solve various problems and make smart farming even more efficient. Using various types of satellite imagery for monitoring crop conditions and field variability analysis is one of the most important components of the Smart Ag ecosystem. ...more

  • Gamma-Ray Soil Spectrometry on the Smart Farm May 07, 2021

    By Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Ag, Olds College

    Since its creation, the Olds College Smart Farm has tested and validated pretty much any advanced or leading edge precision ag technology that exists in the world (and this is not an exaggeration!). Digital technologies and innovative tools, which can speed up field data collection and analysis, provide detailed information about various field properties, and help making better agronomic decisions became an integrated part of Smart Farm activities at Olds College....more

  • Olds College Tests New Grain-drying Mobile App for Farmers May 07, 2021

    Farmers can now monitor their crops on a mobile app during the in-bin drying process. Olds College Centre of Innovation (OCCI) confirms the app is accurate after thorough testing, plus provides recommendations for increased accuracy.  ...more

  • Forage Biomass Assessment February 04, 2021

    By Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Ag, Olds College - February 2020

    In the last decade, remote sensing tools became an essential component of precision agriculture. Satellite and aerial imagery is extensively used for field monitoring and crop condition assessment. The Olds College Smart Farm extensively uses remote sensing in farming operations and research....more

  • GNSS (GPS) Accuracy Explained November 20, 2020

    Submitted by Simon Knutson, Agriculture Technology Instructor, Olds College - November 2020

    The topics addressed and contents of this paper were written based upon student-submitted papers for the GNSS Accuracy Assignment, as part of the AGT 1007 Electronics and Control Systems course, fall semester 2020....more

  • Yield Forecast, Virtual Yield Mapping, and Yield Loss Assessment September 24, 2020

    Smart farming is not an “easy button”, which can do everything on the farm just by pressing it. It is hard work, where agricultural specialists are empowered by various tools and technologies helping them to be more productive and efficient. Smart Farm uses many analytical tools to improve the efficiency of farming operations. Satellite and drone imagery is a good example of such tools....more

  • Autonomous Equipment On the Olds College Smart Farm September 03, 2020

    Earlier this spring, Olds College was excited to announce it was the only post-secondary institution in the world to deploy the fully autonomous DOT Power Platform as a teaching and research tool on the College’s Smart Farm. This next generation of ag-technology gives Olds College students one-of-a-kind learning opportunities on commercially available field-scale robotics technology on the College’s Smart Farm....more

  • Growing from the Ground Up September 03, 2020

    The state of a field is influenced by many variables that are interconnected and dependent on each other. In a field used for cattle grazing, these variables are even more diverse, and managing them can prove a daunting task. This is the purpose behind Olds College’s Regenerative Agriculture project: an undertaking that seeks to identify the key variables of field management to make the most out of a piece of land. ...more

  • Werklund School of Agriculture Technology June 23, 2020

    Launched in September 2019, the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology is committed to providing a one-of-a-kind learning experience that prepares students for future-focused careers and leadership roles throughout the ag sector.  ...more

  • Renewed Approach to Agronomic Management June 23, 2020

    The Olds College farm has historically focused its usable farmland to support the needs of the college’s livestock enterprises through hay, pasture, silage, feed grains and some cash grain. However, with the introduction of the Olds College Smart Farm a new agronomic approach is required to support the needs of students, staff, researchers and industry partners....more

  • Finding Solutions for Real-World Problems June 23, 2020

    Olds College knows that it has a responsibility to facilitate innovation throughout the ag sector and help producers, business and industry find solutions to real-world problems. We also know that successful research begins with building the right team.  That’s why Olds College was delighted to recruit Dr. Joy Agnew as the Associate Vice President of Applied Research and head of the Olds College Centre for Innovation in January 2019....more

  • Answering the Digital Ag Question June 23, 2020

    Industry partners and producers have identified that Ag digitization represents the one of the biggest opportunities – and one of the greatest barriers – for the future growth and development of the sector.  However, data is often a double-edged sword: too much is choking many producers, and too little is preventing enhanced decisions that can strengthen production, sustainability and profitability. ...more