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Research Projects

Applied research at Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) focuses on practical, industry-driven applied research that can be easily implemented by the agriculture industry. On average, OCCI works on 80 to 100 projects per year — with 106+ projects happening throughout 2022 to 2023. This research includes both public-facing projects that are promoted externally as well as confidential projects.

Within broadacre, dryland crop and beef production, applied research is primarily focused on 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.

Ongoing Projects

    • AAFC - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • AFSC - Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
    • AREF - Alberta Real Estate Foundation
    • CAAIN - Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
    • CFI/RCP - Canada Foundation for Innovation/Research Capacity Program
    • ECO Canada - Environmental Careers Organization Canada
    • EOS - EOS Weather Instruments
    • NSERC - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    • PrairiesCan - Prairies Economic Development Canada
    • RCP - Government of Alberta Research Capacity Program
    • RDAR - Results Driven Agriculture Research
    • Sask Wheat - Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
    • TAC - Technology Access Centre (NSERC)
    • UFA - United Farmers of Alberta
    • WCFA - West-Central Forage Association
    • WGRF - Western Grains Research Foundation
    • xarvio/BASF - xarvio® Digital Farming Solutions & BASF Agricultural Solutions

Remote Data Technology

Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) researchers are evaluating different solutions for the Olds College Smart Farm to collect equipment data for field operations with different manufacturers remotely.

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Disease Distribution in Canola

In collaboration with xarvio Digital Farming Solutions, Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is completing disease identification on Field 18 of the Olds College Smart Farm to display canola disease distribution within the field.

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Best Management Practices for Converting Marginal Farmland

Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is working with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to assess best management practices (BMPs) for the removal of marginal cropland from annual production.

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Remote Sensing for Vegetation Assessments in DSAs

Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) partnered with Ember Resources Inc. on a multi-year project to determine if remote sensing technologies could be used for the vegetation assessment component of a Detailed Site Assessment (DSA).

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BioScout - Identify & Quantify Disease Spores

Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network members are conducting a multi-year project with BioScout to sample this revolutionary technology and help improve Bioscout for use in Western Canadian agriculture. 

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LI-COR Chambers - N2O Emissions Small-Plot Trials

LI-COR chamber technology will help OCCI collect high quality and high resolution data on how 4R (right rate, right time, right source, right place) nutrient stewardship practices impact N2O emissions — a highly relevant topic for the ag industry.

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Autonomous Agriculture Equipment

The Raven OMNiPOWER™ platform represents a significant first-step towards autonomy applied to agricultural operations.

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Bio-Agtive Emissions Farming Small Plot Trials

The Bio-Agtive Method is an innovative bio agtech approach which entails emission capture technology and re-purposing of biofuel exhaust emissions into a carbon-based biofertilizer.

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Bushel Plus Harvest Loss Monitoring

Bushel Plus provides a complete combine loss measurement system designed to quickly and accurately quantify harvest loss to assist in the calibration of combine settings during harvest.

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Comparable Autonomous Data Collection

Team members are performing Comparable Autonomous Data Collection with an electronic data acquisition instrument called Somat-eDAQ.

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Comparisons of In-Field MicroClimate Variability & External Weather Stations

Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network members are conducting a second year of research to compare data collected from weather sensors inside and outside of the crop boundary to produce multiple data sets for analysis, and evaluating how disease development varies within each zone.

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Disease Presence in Relation to Soil Characteristic

Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is performing intensive one-acre grid scouting for the purpose of identifying disease variability within a field, and comparing the distribution of disease results to other geospatial layers collected within the HyperLayer project.

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Evaluation of the MINS Process for Carbon Credits

Carbon Assets Solutions (CAS) is a new Canadian company that uses Mobile Inelastic Neutron Scattering (MINS) technology to determine carbon content in soils that may help producers access carbon credits.

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Exploring Soil Moisture, Weather & Forage Biomass Relationships

Olds College is performing a historical data correlation analysis in partnership with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) to learn from existing data sources what variables matter most to forage growth.

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Hail Imagery Research

Olds College and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) are continuing their work together to determine if high definition imaging from unmanned aircraft vehicles (drones) can be used to classify hail damaged areas within crop fields.

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In-Bin Drying: Top Grade Ag

The In-Bin Drying Monitor is a technology developed by Top Grade Ag that uses a proprietary algorithm with pressure, temperature and humidity sensors to optimize grain drying procedures.

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Saskatchewan Smart Farm Field Data Collection

Olds College is working with local Saskatchewan partners to gather historical and current information from the fields on the Saskatchewan Smart Farm for baseline data collection.

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Variable Rate Technology Economic Modelling

Olds College is working with TELUS Agriculture on assessing the return on investment of variable rate technology (VRT) which is a precision-ag approach allowing producers to manage defined areas of their fields differently.

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Weather Station Array

The Weather Station Array provides a comparison of functionality, platform navigation, installation/uninstallation, reliability of data, user experience, and connectivity of commercially available weather stations.

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HyperLayer Data Concept

The HyperLayer Data Concept is a process that allows the Olds College Smart Farm to compile, analyze, and use virtually every type of agricultural data.

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Residual Feed Intake (RFI) Testing for Producers/Industry

Each year, the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production evaluates non-college animals during the feeding trial season through a variety of performance evaluations and research projects.

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Sheep Parasite & Feed Efficiency with Metabolomics

The Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production is identifying and quantifying a panel of predictive blood biomarkers of feed efficiency and parasite infections of sheep.

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Floating Island Technology for Livestock Water Remediation

This project evaluates the economic and environmental benefits of using native wetland plants and floating island technology to treat feedlot runoff water.

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Validation of Rapid In-Field Testing to Measure Forage Nitrate Concentration

The Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) has been validating rapid on-farm forage nitrate tests to assist cattle producers in managing feed quality.

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Enhancing Climate Change Resiliency & Environmental Sustainability of the Livestock Industry

The TACLP at Olds College is enhancing climate change resiliency and environmental sustainability of the livestock industry through the use of innovative technology and rotational grazing practices on the Smart Farm.

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Herd Management using Artificial Intelligence

Using artificial intelligence for individual animal identification and monitoring is a novel concept that Olds College is exploring with an industrial client.

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Sire Progeny

This project evaluates sire-progeny links, breeding plans and information management/record keeping in multi-sire breeding scenarios on commercial herds.

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Weaning Methods & Tactile Stimulation on Calf Performance, Health & Welfare

Researchers at the TACLP are studying and comparing differences in weight gain, health and reactivity at handling in imprinted against non-imprinted calves weaned through the use of either nose-flap, fenceline or traditional abrupt weaning.

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Intercropping Corn for Livestock Grazing Strategies

The TACLP at Olds College is partnering with the University of Manitoba to identify the potential for intercropping corn with high protein forages.

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Pasture/Range Health Assessments

The TACLP has embarked on a series of regenerative agriculture strategies at Pitstra Farm to modify the land, increase biodiversity of flora/fauna, increase yield and stocking rates, and improve the ecosystem function.

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Small Plot Crop Research

Crop research, small plot trials or full field investigations, is key to Olds College crop research portfolio.

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Greenhouse Trial: RezFree Application

The OCCI crops research team is conducting a potted greenhouse seed trial with AgroBiome comparing different timings of application of their product RezFree on seeds.

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Optical Spot Spraying

WEED-IT is a precision sprayer designed to apply herbicide directly on weeds and avoid wastage. The goal is helping producers reduce herbicide use and subsequently costs related to herbicide application.

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