One of the most fun parts of going to farm shows is the “cool factor”. Vendors bring their newest, greatest, biggest, shiniest or fanciest thing (item or idea) to the show. Farmers get excited about the possibilities of tomorrow, because we see so many innovative things. Some of the innovations have been around for a while and are just “new to you” while others can be launches for new products that have never been seen before. Either way, agricultural shows are a good place to go for inspiration and excitement.
If you check out our YouTube channel you will see a few drone video clips sprinkled in the mix. Given our Dad’s interest in aviation, it was not a surprise when he purchased a drone. He intended to use it for actual agricultural purposes, but Karen and I appreciate that drones capture cool images. However, this season Manitobans may see something new flying above the fields. ROGA Drone, based in Elie, now has Transport Canada approval for pesticide application with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Right now, this Kray sprayer technology will be used for spot spraying types of applications. However, there is a potential to further develop this technology, both in the abilities of a single UAV and in the possibility of fleets of UAVs. Before long these UFOs may be easily recognizable as farm tools.
As with many technology innovations, the idea of using UAV for aerial application of spray does not mean that ground sprayers, airplane or helicopter applications are going to disappear from the landscape. Instead, the use of UAVs for pesticide application provides a niche solution in response to specific challenges identified by farmers. This is just one example where technologies originating in other sectors finding a purposeful applications in an agricultural context.
To all of the innovators at AgDays, thanks for showing us your new, best and shiniest ideas! And to all the farmers, farm extenders and farm femmes at AgDays – now the fun begins as we take what we learned and apply it in our operations.