Smart Farm

In the summer of 2018, Olds College launched the Olds College Smart Farm: a cutting-edge learning environment that has grown to include 3,600 acres of farmland, infrastructure, and staff who are experienced in ag tech research and development. Olds College Centre of Innovation (OCCI) and Smart Farm are accelerating the development and adoption of technologies and practices that result in improved productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food industry through industry-driven applied research.

Advancing Canada's Ag Industry Video Thumbnail
Advancing Canada's Ag Industry | The Olds College Smart Farm

The Olds College Smart Farm is essentially a giant lab that provides the agriculture sector a venue for commercial scale applied research. It is attracting investment and engagement from companies ranging from multi-national ag and tech companies to SMEs (small and medium enterprises). It also provides our students with a learning environment centred on the future of ag and technology, setting the learning experience apart from other programming in the country. 

The philosophy and principles guiding the development and operation of the Olds College Smart Farm are centred around engaging producers and industry on addressing real-world problems by utilizing and integrating technology and data. The Smart Farm is also focused on teaching students how to integrate, manage and leverage ag technology for the enhancement and sustainability of agri-food production. 

Smart Farm Impact Report

The purpose of the Olds College Smart Farm

  • Establish the most efficient way to collect and implement the world's best digital agriculture technologies for crop and livestock production;

  • Demonstrate increased efficiency of farming operations through implementation of smart technologies and practices; and 

  • Utilize commercial and pre-commercial technologies for world class education, demonstration, and applied research.

The Smart Farm creates a place for producers, industry partners, students and faculty to look at the opportunities and challenges facing the agriculture industry and investigate solutions to evolve agriculture practices. In the end, Olds College believes that our focus on ag technology and the problems to be solved will serve as a catalyst for new thinking and leadership that inspires cross-industry solutions, innovation and strategic decision-making.

Olds College Smart Farm Crop and Livestock Plan

The Olds College Smart Farm includes 3,600 acres of land for crops and forage production (excluding ponds, roadways and natural areas):

  • 1,117 acres on main campus at Olds, AB

  • 418 acres across Highway 2

  • 308 acres at Pitstra Farm west of Carstairs, AB

  • 312 acres at Steckler Farm west of Didsbury

  • 600+ acres at the Field Crop Development Centre located at Lacombe, AB

  • 800 acres west of Craik, SK

Olds College Smart Farm Project Map

The Olds College Smart Farm also maintains a cow herd with approximately 140 commercial breeding females. The College uses a 3-way cross of Gelbvieh, Simmental and Angus. In addition to the commercial beef cattle, Olds College has a herd of 16 Purebred Red Angus animals with plans to continue expanding that number in future years. On average, the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) evaluates over 1,000 animals each year for custom feeding trials, residual feed intake trials, and other research initiatives on a fee-for-service or cost recovery basis. The Smart Farm also includes 150 breeding ewes. The animals at Olds College are involved with student learning opportunities along with applied research activities on the Smart Farm.

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Smart Farm Projects & Activities

Primarily focused on five main areas of applied research — autonomous agricultural equipment, sensors, data utilization, technology development and validation, and regenerative agriculture — the Smart Farm is working towards providing producers with real-life applied research to help them make informed decisions about implementing technology in their own operations.

View All Projects

Smart Farm Articles

  • Exploring Nofence Collars: Livestock Research Posted 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.

  • Smart Farm Operations - Dedication to the Farm Team Posted 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 Posted 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

Thank you to our Olds College Smart Farm Partners

Investors

CAAIN - Connect Create CultivateCanadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI)Natural Sciences and Engineering Research CouncilWestern Economic Diversification

David Werklund  & Susan NormanGeorge & Marge StecklerEstate of Willem & Marj Pitstra

  

Partners

ATBUFA


   

Neighbours

Farm Credit CanadaVantageTrimble

  

Friends

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Alberta Wheat Commission

Boyden Canada

Canadian Red Angus Promotion Society

Homestead Feast

NRCC-IRAP

SaskWheat and Western Grains Research Foundation

Western Grains

Zelenka Farms

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Alberta Beef Producers

amii

Arable Labs

Canada Malting

Canadian Agriculture Partnership

Climate Field View

Crop Pro Consulting

Decisive Farming

Farmobile

Farmer's Edge

Grain Discovery

ICT International

Intelliconn/Verigrain

Mitacs

NuFarm

Pessl/Metos

Raven Bay

RealmFive

Red Shed Malting

SAIT

Stream Technologies

Union Forage

University of Manitoba & Beef Cattle Research Council

Croplands (WEEDit)

Wilson, Erma & Roy

WIN

Zedi

Zone Startups Calgary