AI in Ag: Robotic Milking

Milk production in a robotic dairy barn is a truly amazing data driven operation. When we first met Carla Plett and learned about her families dairy we grilled her with questions - and she whipped out her phone and showed us exactly what information she has at her fingertips anytime, anywhere.

The video below shows a dairy in Lisbon, North Dakota that has made this giant technological leap as they pass on the legacy of their dairy operation to the next generation. This video is from 2017, but the systems they installed are commercially available. Just think of all of the data collected to manage the feed rations, movement tracking, robotic mucking, air exchangers, temperature sensors and the impact to milk production at an individual animal level. That is a lot of data, and a lot of jobs in AI to create the systems and integrations to ensure that gallon of milk is produced safely and sustainably.

AI in Ag: Spud-telligence

Careers in agriculture and AI can directly impact the quality of the food we eat.

A Canadian company based in Ontario, Greentronics, showed how knowing where your potatoes came from in the field, and where they are piled helps potatoe producers provide traceability farm to fork. I am going to be honest, an 8 minute video seemed a little long, but I couldn’t stop watching! Who knew your fries were so high tech?!?

Sensors and timestamps replaced paper and clipboards to provide the intelligence needed for delivery of high quality potatoes.

If you can’t wait to read more about spud-telligence after watching the video, check out our blogs about Under the Hill Farms and their use of John Deere Operations Center.

AI in Ag: Food Traceability

Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to speak to a lot of great media outlets promotion our AI in a Day camps, and one of the consistent questions we get is, how is AI used in Agriculture. So this week, we’re going to show you a few ways AI is already being used.

One of the technologies we have talked about in our blogs is blockchain technology check out our post from Aug 2018 if you are wondering what blockchain technology is (Bitcoin is the most recognizable example).

Check out what Dole and Walmart are doing with blockchain technology to trace food from farm to fork.

Why Artificial Intelligence?

So why is Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture so important? That is simple, farmers provide a universal connection.  

Who has eaten today?

Did you eat any bread today?  Any edamame? Protein shake with soy or pea protein?

You ate a product grown on a FarmFemmes farm…  and what farmers want is for everyone to be able to eat.

AND that’s where Artificial Intelligence comes in, so if you’ll humor me, think about the one job at work that you hate the most. Maybe it’s something you aren’t good at, maybe it’s something that’s super hard and you always make mistakes, or maybe it’s mind-numbingly boring.

Boom!

That’s a prime candidate for artificial intelligence. Then comes the next question - well is AI going to put me out of a job then?

I have worked in Artificial Intelligence for 15 years, and I will say the one thing that I consistently have NOT done is put someone out of a job. You know why? Because, most often, if it’s a job we hate, or dread doing we were already a) putting it on the bottom of the to do list or b) getting in trouble for doing it wrong.

In my 15 years in AI I have automated re-ordering of prescriptions, optimized when carts are pushed back into big box retailers, changed the hours of stores based on video analysis of traffic patterns, personalized digital marketing, automated e-mail conversations, created type ahead suggestions, routinized data loads and automated alerts. All without putting one single person out of work. Did I change their work - 100% absolutely, unequivocally yes! The work that was never getting done was getting done, and with fewer mistakes (computers don’t get hangry at 2:30 every afternoon). Does that increase job satisfaction - yep - it sure does.

So how does that relate to agriculture? Well as you see above, it doesn’t have to, AI exists in every industry in a lot of different forms. So here is our why AI?

  • we’re pretty big fans of eating

  • we’re also pretty big fans of everyone eating

  • we’re also pretty darn big fans of the environment & making it better

  • we’re big believers in technology as a solution

So farm to fork, there are ALL KINDS of applications of AI!

Camp News!

We have been very fortunate to have had great media coverage, which has really helped to spread the word about our camp’s purpose - to connect youth to the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in Ag.

Thanks to: CBC Radio, CJOB Radio, Pembina Valley Online and CFAM for the great FarmFemmes coverage

We now have a sponsor for code camp on Saturday, June 15th, which means you can sign up and attend FOR FREE! Be one of the first 10 people to complete the registration form for your 8-16 year old and they can attend at no cost to you.

If you, or your 8-16 year old, has ever wondered about a career in artificial intelligence, been interested about how facial recognition works, or wanted to design an autonomous tractor this camp is for them.

OR maybe you are not quite sure what artificial intelligence is all about, you have reservations about it’s importance or are not sure if you want your kids to know more than you - this camp is for your kids too! A one day investment can introduce your son or daughter to some very tangible new skills and expose you to new technologies.


Follow along this week as we feature some agricultural innovations that will inspire you to be part of feeding the world. From robotic milkers to high tech potato piles, agriculture is full of opportunities to use tech skills to solve real-world challenges, and you can be part of the solution.

FarmFemmes @ MinneAnalytics Data Tech 2019

We are excited to be speaking at MinneAnalytics Data Tech 2019 on May 30th at Normandale Partnership Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To sign up for our session we have included the link below.

Modern Agriculture: Redefining AI

In 2030, the world population is estimated to be 8.3 billion people. Even at our current world population 800 million people go hungry. Malnutrition affects 1 in 3 people. Agriculture is the only occupation in the world that can directly lead to Zero Hunger. It compels us to come together, utilize new technologies, new farming practices and artificial intelligence in ways that will so directly impact our world. 

In this talk, we speak to the ways in which modern agriculture is already adopting Artificial Intelligence and what a modern farm looks like through stunning imagery and a virtual immersive agriculture experience. We also speak to the technologies of the future that will continue to change the agricultural landscape, and what farmers still need from artificial intelligence to be able to feed the world.

Update: We received a note that the event is SOLD OUT, so we’ll work to figure out how we can share some of the content in the next couple weeks for everyone who could not get in to attend in person.

Playing nicely together in the tech sandbox

There is more than enough work to go around!

This is true in farming and also for the many agri-businesses that support farmers. Gone are the days when one company could support a farmers’ needs in all areas of their operation. Instead, companies are seeing the benefits of playing together in the sandbox; of developing their specialty equipment, product or service and collaborating with other providers. This applies to many aspects of farm business, but it certainly applies to technology and precision agriculture.

Our last post highlighted FarmDog as a crop scouting app that can be used together with John Deere Operations Center. However, this is just one of many connected software tools that are designed to sync with Operations Center. This is beneficial to farmers for a number of reasons:

  • it allows flexibility in deciding what data is collected

  • it is financial beneficial as farmers only pay for services they want to use

  • it improves efficiency because generic information, such as field geography, can be shared rather than being regenerated

  • it allows very detailed and specific functionalities designed for very specialized production operations

  • it allows a company to provide better customer service by focusing supports on a narrower range of products and services

There is more than enough room for expansion and specialization in precision agriculture technologies and equipment - there is a lot of room in the sandbox. It benefits producers when suppliers design and build products that work together.

So to all of the companies focused on developing their niche market while collaborating with others - Thank You!

Crop Scouting

Last week at the Green Valley Equipment Seed & Feed event at Deer Creek Farms, we got to learn about some pretty useful tech and apps and we wanted to share them with you.

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Farm Dog is a crop scouting app that enables you to mark where you are in a field when you are scouting, and take a picture of what you are seeing in the field at that time. You can scout in multiple locations in your field, and be able to have the visuals preserved so you can look at them later, or share them with a partner or agronomist if you want their opinion. The individual version of the app is FREE! If you do want to share with a partner, the cost is $24.99/month and to manage a team (say you are an agronomy company) is $34.99/month.

If you have John Deere Operations Center, even better because Farm Dog synchs to the Operations center bidirectionally, meaning your fields from Operations Center can be sent to Farm Dog. This makes it easy to mark where you are scouting within existing fields in Operations Center. The scouting reports and images also synch to John Deere Operations Center, so right on the timeline you can see the date you scouted, and the images you took while you were scouting. Super handy to keep track of what the field looked like right alongside your data around seeding dates and spraying applications. You can then easily compare previous years records to remind yourself about dates and context of what you saw when you scouted.

The tutorial below was all I needed to get started on setting this up. Again, the app is free to install on Google Play or the Apple iTunes Store. You can visit Farm Dog to learn more or sign up for the paid versions. If you like the app we would love to hear from you - tell us what features you used or how it works in your operation - karen@farmfemmes.com or teresa@farmfemmes.com.

Thanks GVE! Seed & Feed At Deer Creek Farms

Our parents, Wes and Carol Hildebrand, own and operate Deer Creek Farm south of Morden, MB. Today, Nathan and Willy from GVE brought Seed & Feed to our parents’ farm in a celebration of service, community and common goals. We shared good food, courtesy of King’s Deli Market & Eatery, and interesting conversation. Our family is extending a big thank you to GVE for their work in getting farmers rolling and seeds in the ground, as well as for recognizing and celebrating local farms through Seed & Feed. #agteam


Ask a Farm Femme: What is AI in Agriculture?

This week, I went to a parents meeting about mountain biking, and I knew NONE of the terms they threw out at me. There were names for parts of a bike I didn’t even know existed - I have always just hoped on and rode.

The same is true of AI - you likely use it every day without even knowing it was there - it just worked and so you did your thing. If you used a smart phone, a car, a credit card or walked into any store today, you interacted with AI.

Interested in how AI is used on farms (now, and most importantly for at least the next 10 years of the future), check out this short YouTube video.