On our farm we enjoy the privilege of hosting trainees from abroad. Our trainees become part of our family; they work with us and they play with us. Although our trainees come to us with an agriculture background, they often discover things about Canadian Agriculture that make it unique. #CdnAgDay
Each year we go to AgDays with an agenda of things to see and sessions to attend, and lots of time for socializing. This year one of our “look for” items is going to be blockage monitors for our seeder. Currently, we manually check and visually inspect for blocked seed runs. However, this means that we run the risk of having an undetected blocked seed run which results in a missing row of seeds and a higher seed rate in adjacent runs. Last year was our first year running our current seeder, so we learned through the process and this year we will be looking to add blockage monitors to improve our seeding efficiency.
Of course, increased monitors mean increased cost and complexity. However, we hope that reduced down- time for manual inspections and increased seeding precision will improve our crop health and thus improve our yields.
If you know of an AgDays booth we should stop by to help us with our monitors, please send us a direct message or drop us a comment.
Or, if you just have a cool booth that you want us to check out, let us know that too! Just tag @FarmFemmes on your social media post… See you soon.
We got the chance to get some drone photos at Vallotton Farms and ran into a great problem - it was super sunny! So, now I need to learn a bit more about how to change my exposure settings, but learning is fun when you are motivated by a real-world problem. (Even on the last week of school, I still remember the principles of learning 101.)
All of our DJI drone and GoPro footage will turn into videos so we can share even more of our farm adventures with you - stay tuned.
Now that all our seeds are in the soil and we have shifted from #plant18 to #grow18, it seems like a good time to look back at some seeding pictures. You may have noticed that some of our fields look a bit “messy”. Zero till means that all of the organic matter (aka “trash”) from last year’s crop is still in the field. Depending on the crop and the weather conditions, after one winter the trash is in various states of breaking down and returning to the soil.
What factors do farmers consider when deciding to zero till, or use tillage?
Not tilling the soil after combining means less equipment-passes over the field to work the leftover organic matter into the soil. This results in less labour hours and less equipment hours, which saves fuel and wear and tear.
The amount of organic matter left after combining depends on the type of crop grown, and the plant development in any given year. For instance, the amount of wheat straw and stubble left after combining depends on the thickness of the stand and the stalk height (influenced by variety and weather conditions).
Leaving organic matter in the field helps to catch snow, which increases the moisture available in the spring. This can be a benefit or a problem, depending on the soil type, winter snow accumulation and spring melt conditions.
Tillage is used as a physical mechanism for reducing weeds.
It is also worth noting, that farmers may use a combination of zero-till and tillage to maximize their land’s fertility and productivity, to influence water usage, or to manage compaction. No one tillage solution is right for every farm, every farmer, every field or every year.
It goes without saying that seeding is a crazy busy time, which means today's post is light on words and big on photos. Feel free to comment with photo ideas - or link us to your cool drone photos so that we can try to capture more unique and interesting shots.
I am sure by now most people have heard of Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies. While Bitcoin value has significantly dropped this year, the underlying technology, blockchain, is fascinating. Blockchain is the concept of a distributed ledger backed securely with cryptography techniques. Since most farmers do their own books, it's essentially having all of your financial transactions secured with a dual handshake, encrypted and then kept in multiple locations. It also ensures that no one institution controls the financial exchange and that the money is guaranteed at point of delivery of goods.
This is where blockchain comes into agriculture. The exchange of agricultural goods is cash flow heavy, and traceability to source is becoming increasingly important. Receiving payment immediately through a validated currency exchange tied to an official currency is really interesting! AgriDigital based out of Australia is tying agriculture and blockchain together, and being the first to do so shows how agriculture may benefit.
The pilot AgriDigital was run in partnership with CBH Group at an oat processing facility. Using a payment methodology directly tied to the Australian Dollar. The commodity, oats in the pilot, was digitally represented as a digital title token that represented the quality and quantity. The digital token was then made available and a buyer in this case the CBH's subsidiary Blue Lake Milling secured the token and requested physical delivery. At the point of physical delivery, settlement of exchange happened in real time transferring the title of the digital token to the buyer in exchange for Agricoin at the agreed upon price for the token. The Agricoin could be immediately settled for the Australian dollar to which Agricoin pegged.
While this was a small pilot, it's new tech proving itself out in agriculture, and something to be thinking of in terms of the possibilities of new formats of delivery and immediate cash settlements. While this example is grain delivery, it would be just as easy to envision this in technology being applied for inputs including tokens for which a farmer would peg the token the price and quantity of given inputs like seed or fertilizer. Any transaction where a trusted distributed ledger, easy/immediate settlement and a bidding system would be beneficial could effectively utilize blockchain technologies. If you would like to read the in depth pilot study it is available for download here.
If you haven't heard of Bitcoin and you enjoy a comedic approach to it, John Oliver's explanation on Last Week Tonight is both funny and a good overview. As you've probably read a number of our blog articles, you know we like comedy, but in forewarning there is a number of swears as this was originally broadcast on HBO.
Today's BINGO road trip board is all about semi trucks. My boys are obsessed with trucks, brand, style, paint jobs, sleeper, chrome pipes you name it they comment on it. So, here is a road trip BINGO board for those of you who have passengers equally semi-obsessed.
AND the competition continues for these BINGO cards- and there will be PRIZES!!!!
To enter for a FarmFemmes kids/youth safety shirt:
1. Take a selfie that shows 1 adult + 1 <18 year old + your BINGO sheet (printed or electronic)
2. Post it on Facebook or Instagram and tag @farmfemmes in your post
You can enter 1 time per day for the duration of the contest (March 19-April 2).
BUT.... wait there is a BONUS, we will put your name in 10x if you take a photo of EACH item that got you to BINGO in a ADDITIONAL post on Facebook or Instagram and tag @farmfemmes in your post.
We will give away 5 shirts!
It's presentation day @ the Global Big Data Conference on Artificial Intelligence! One of my favorite videos is today's because I just read this fun stat in the January, 2018 issue of Canola Digest that only 15% of farmers are using precision agriculture.
This video shows how Deer Creek Farms of Morden, Manitoba got started in Precision Agriculture, and the results it had on the 2017 Canola harvest. If you enjoy the video, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. If you have your own precision ag story that you'd be willing to share with us please comment below or send us an e-mail.
Only 1 day left until we present at the Global Big Data Conference on Artificial Intelligence!
We are sharing the videos this week that will be shown as part of the presentation. If you like them we'd love your help. Please share them on your Facebook or Twitter feeds, and subscribe to our YouTube channel... Thanks!