Down on the Smart Farm Download PDF
Berry-picking robots. Tablet-controlled tractors. Weed-sensing drones. How farms are going high-tech to produce more food and a healthier environment.
Trevor Scherman is getting more rest these days, thanks to his iPad. Scherman is a farmer who grows wheat, peas, canola and lentils near Battleford, Saskatchewan. Like legions of farmers in both Canada and the United States, he uses precision agriculture technology—cutting-edge tools like drones and satellite imagery—to keep a careful watch on his crops. The sensors positioned around Scherman’s farm provide instant feedback on all sorts of conditions that could impact his crops, such as heavy rain or a sudden frost. He also gets digital satellite images of his fields delivered by email. A company called Farmers Edge analyzes the data with sophisticated mathematical algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). In addition to identifying major issues, the software can even pinpoint a minor weed outbreak or a few acres where plants are withering, problems that large-scale farmers like Scherman likely would have never discovered on their own until they were rampant. Continue reading