ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 13

feature

Despite these obstacles, agricultural technology is marching
at lightning pace toward the crest of something fantastic and
game-changing. Data-driven decisions around fertilization
and cropping, autonomous machinery working night and day
and facial scanning AI that can determine health information
about cattle are just a few marvels currently developing to
make agriculture smarter, more efficient and more sustainable. Indoor vertical farming is another field that could allow
urban settings to explode into farming territory.
Think tanks, post-secondary institutions, research centres
and private companies in Alberta are all laying the bricks
down to build the house of future food security. Many of
these players are connected to each other in some way, allowing the process from invention up to implementation to
roll on without too many stumbles.
To digital agriculture strategist Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, using
data-driven analytics to inform farming decisions could allow
agricultural processes to vastly increase in efficiency. Melnitchouck has spent the past 25 years in the field of digital
agriculture, working on farms across the globe. He's now the
chief content officer of digital agriculture at Olds College.
" We believe, if we have enough background data, in a while
we'll be able to estimate the potential availability of nitrogen,
phosphorus, potassium in the soil, how much fertilizer we
can apply, just based on our algorithms, " Melnitchouck says.
" Instead of doing a whole bunch of physical operations, we
just press an easy button, and the system does it for us. "
This would be possible by combining technologies to predict
conditions and risks more accurately. " Based on satellite imagery, based on weather information and certain analytical
algorithms, we can be way more accurate with the assessment of risk of diseases, " he says.
This is a striking improvement over traditional methods of
figuring out which steps to take with, say, a batch of crops,
explains Dr. Cornelia Kreplin. Kreplin is the interim CEO of
the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN).
To show the difference of data-driven decisions, Kreplin
raises a hypothetical situation in an agricultural environment. She describes a farmer deciding on spraying his potatoes, by estimating wind speed with a wet finger, eyeballing

the clouds and checking the potentially inaccurate weather
prediction online. With all of that information, this theoretical
farmer must make a $20,000 gamble of whether he should
spray his crops.

" Instead, what we want to do is
collect data from a large number
of databases and sources and
apply data analytics, turn it around,
and turn it into information that
the producer can use to increase
productivity, " Kreplin explains.
" He'll be either reducing his cost of production because he
doesn't make a $20,000 mistake, or he can increase the value
of his crop by manipulating soil fertility, to increase the number of omega threes in canola, for instance, " she says.
While having the gear to streamline farming is important, the
tools are useless without the knowledge to use them. Luckily
for the students at Olds College, these advanced implements
are available for hands-on learning, at their Smart Farm.
Described as a " living lab " on the college's website, the Smart
Farm is a 1,843 acre outdoor learning environment. At the
farm, the college's partners in the agricultural industry can
field-test their inventions, while the next generation of farmers become familiarized with them.
" Right now, on the Smart Farm we can demonstrate pretty
much any leading edge technology, applied anywhere around
the world, " Melnitchouck says.
For instance, last year the college was able to collect a hyperspectral image of the entire Smart Farm from the International Space Station. " When I say hyperspectral, that means that
for every pixel on that image, we have full spectral signature, "
Melnitchouck explains.
From such precise imaging can come information on all sorts
of factors around field conditions, such as the state and nutrient status of crops.
Another of the technologies at the farm is Dot, an autonomous farming platform built in Saskatchewan.

TECHNOLOGY ALBERTA | SPRING 2021 | 13


https://www.oldscollege.ca/olds-college-smart-farm/index.html https://www.ravenprecision.com/raven-autonomy/driverless-ag-technology/dot

ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021

Contents
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - Cover1
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - Cover2
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 3
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 4
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - Contents
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 6
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 7
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 8
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 9
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 10
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 11
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 12
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 13
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 14
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 15
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 16
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 17
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 18
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 19
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 20
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 21
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 22
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 23
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 24
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 25
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 26
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 27
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 28
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 29
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 30
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 31
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 32
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 33
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 34
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 35
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 36
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 37
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 38
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 39
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 40
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 41
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 42
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 43
ASET Technology Alberta Spring 2021 - 44
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_dec2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/aset55anniversary
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2015
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com