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.

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


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

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

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.

Environmental Farm Plan Certification for the Smart Farm

The Smart Farm recently received a certificate for completing the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) – a voluntary, whole farm, self-assessment tool that helps producers identify and develop plans to mitigate their environmental risks. Five years in the making, this large achievement was a truly collaborative effort between students, faculty and the Smart Farm team at the College. 

Read the complete story

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 Interactive Project Map

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Smart Farm Articles

  • Highlighting Crop Research & Environmental Stewardship Teams Posted 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 Posted 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) Posted 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

Thank you to our Olds College Smart Farm Partners


CAAIN - Connect Create CultivateCanadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI)Natural Sciences and Engineering Research CouncilWestern Economic DiversificationDavid Werklund  & Susan NormanGeorge & Marge StecklerEstate of Willem & Marj Pitstra





Farm Credit CanadaVantageTrimble


Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Alberta Wheat Commission

Boyden Canada

Canadian Red Angus Promotion Society

Homestead Feast


SaskWheat and Western Grains Research Foundation

Western Grains

Zelenka Farms

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Alberta Beef Producers


Arable Labs

Canada Malting

Canadian Agriculture Partnership

Climate Field View

Crop Pro Consulting

Decisive Farming


Farmer's Edge

Grain Discovery

ICT International





Raven Bay


Red Shed Malting


Stream Technologies

Union Forage

University of Manitoba & Beef Cattle Research Council

Croplands (WEEDit)

Wilson, Erma & Roy



Zone Startups Calgary

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