Ag PhD: Name Drops in Emerging Ag Tech

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Thank you to all of the attendees who made our first AgPhD as exhibitors a great experience.

Today we had the opportunity to speak about new and emerging technologies, and how they might impact our farms in the next 3-7 years. In case you missed any of the companies or apps that we referenced, you can check out the links below.

AgroCares Nutrient Scanner

Climate Field View

Decisive Farming

Farm Bucks

Farm Dog

Farmers Edge

Greentronics Rite Trace

John Deere Operations Center

Precision AI

Xarvio

Yield 360 soil scan

If you have another tech tool that has been valuable to your farming operation, we would love to hear about it.

Ag In Motion - Innovation

This is our first time attending Ag in Motion, just outside of Saskatoon, SK. The show is in its fifth year and has a heavy emphasis on field scale trials and demonstrations. The tag line SEE technology, TOUCH innovation, BE Empowered is certainly fitting for this event!

The Ag in Motion Innovations Program recognizes companies that advance agriculture in four areas:

  • Plant and Soil Science

  • Animal and Livestock

  • Agriculture Equipment

  • Agribusiness Services

In addition, six international ag-tech companies are part of the 2019 show, as Canadian farmers attract the attention of worldwide developers and innovators. Combine this with the release of new seed varieties (two Canterra wheat varieties), companies making new product announcements (autonomous dry spinner spreader) and showing off their products and services in unique ways (virtual reality at the AGI booth) and there is no shortage of innovation.

One day is not enough time for this show!

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.

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!

Santa's (Tech) Workshop for Farmers

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Farmers love tinkering and trying new things. If you are stuck for gift ideas that will fit under the tree (aka. not a new tractor) we have you covered. Here are five more technology based gift ideas for your farmer. (Scroll down to yesterday’s post to read the first five ideas.)

  • GoPro - The fact that the GoPro is designed for extreme conditions makes it perfect for capturing action shots on the farm.  Invest in some accessories to give you multiple mounting options. Check out our video and make a magnetic mount strong enough for the vibrations and pipe sizes of farm equipment.

  • Flash drives.  Although a bit dated, they are still a reliable way to transfer data between equipment and the office or to your off-farm supports, like accountants.  They also act as an easy way to backup your files and keep them in an off-site location.

  • Gift card for apps - There are lots of great free apps, but sometimes it is worth it to invest in paid apps.  Check our recommended weather apps or email us if you are looking for app recommendations on a specific topic.

  • Security cameras - Monitor your yardsite, bin site, barn or shop with a security camera system designed specifically for your needs.  Most systems allow you to log in remotely to view in real time and allow for alerts to be sent directly to your phone. Read our full post for more details.

  • Electronic keypad lock boxes - Electronic lock boxes give you the best of both worlds, because they allow you to keep your keys with your equipment and also keep it safe.

If you are looking for low tech ideas, we have those too! Check back all this week and you will have plenty of ideas for every farmer on your list.

Santa's (Tech) Workshop for Farmers

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If you are whittling down your shopping list, and are running out of ideas, we are here to help!  We love farming and technology, so for our first list we matched the two together to give you a top ten list of technology-related gifts that could be used on any farm.  No matter what kind of operation you have - beef, dairy, grain or anything in between - there is a tech gift for your favorite farmer on this list. We included a mixture of affordable and splurge gifts, new tech and tried and true tech, as well as generic to highly personal options.  In no particular order:

  • Personal Digital Assistant (Amazon Echo, Google Home)  - An economical way to add an extra pair of hands or some extra memory power to your operation.  Assistants can react to verbal commands to complete tasks throughout your home, garage, shop or barn.

  • Sensor activated lights - Investing in lighting upgrades can save you money while also keeping you, your property, your staff and your livestock safe.

  • Drone - This can be a spendy one, but if you watch our videos you know how much fun we have had showcasing the awesome scenes from our farms.  There are many different styles, sizes and shapes to choose from, so do your research before making this purchase.

  • Computer camera/mic/earphones - Whether you want to use the internet for video chats with family, online learning or online auctions get the gear to allow you to do these things with ease.

  • Remote start - Brrrr.  Warm your farmer’s heart by warming up their truck.

Come back tomorrow to finish out the top 10 tech gifts for farmers. If low tech gifts are more your style, watch for our next list starting Wednesday.  We have compiled a list of 20 gifts that will make any farmer happy.

How your operation can add tech to help Operations.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our select-a-session entitled You Can’t Have A Family Farm without the Family - Finding Balance we have a lot of great resources to share with you!  Part of the session involved participants sharing their technology suggestions and solutions in three main areas: Operations, Organization and Optimism.  Some of the suggestions were generic and others were names of specific apps or programs. Some we are familiar with and others are new to us. This variety was exactly the idea of having such a large group of women sharing ideas - so that we can all grow and learn.  We want to ensure that everyone can learn from the group conversations so over the next week we will be sharing parts of the presentation as well as audience suggestions.

Audience Suggestions:

AgExpert software for finances and accounting

Digital cameras for photos of livestock for promotions or sales

Barn thermostat alarm notifications

Grain dryer monitoring via cell phone

Feed Watch software for feeding cattle

Check back later this week for technology suggestions to help you “get it together” and stay positive in your farming operation.

Grain Bin Monitoring - Another Green Book Find

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There are a LOT of options for monitoring your grain once it is in the bin.  Rather than re-write the book, today we are sharing some links to give you an overview of the options available to you.  In reality, it is highly likely that there may be a combination of monitoring options that are right for your operation, depending on factors like if you use bins or bags and if you rent or own.

Check out these articles, which summarize some bin sensor technologies:
Top Crop Manager:

https://www.topcropmanager.com/storage/new-tools-for-grain-bin-monitoring-21071


Western Producer:

https://www.producer.com/2018/04/grain-bin-monitoring-3-d/

Also, Green Book 2018 pg 232 and 249 show two examples of bin monitoring options.


As always - leave us a comment if you have had an experience, positive or negative, with bin sensor technology.  Or email us at Teresa@FarmFemmes.com or Karen@FarmFemmes.com



Bin Innovation - Another Green Book Find

Grain storage is top of mind as we plan our storage strategies.  For some farms, this fall has felt more like winter, with early snow making harvest difficult.  For other farms, harvest seems to have been finished long ago and now bin site management is top of mind as they monitor the conditions and locations of their stored grain.  Either way, on farm storage plays a key role in the workload throughout the fall and winter months. Here are two grain bin gadgets to check out:

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  • LevALERT (pg 226)  This visual indicator allows you to monitor the amount of material in your bin without worrying about dust build up on a viewing window or having to climb a ladder.  It operates mechanically and can be used to indicate both when bins are getting full or empty. Strategically placed indicators can allow the lead time necessary to plan your next storage-related actions.  Check out http://levalert.com/ for details.

  • After market bin lids (pg 224)  Adjusting bin lids without climbing ladders saves time and improves safety.  After market options can transform your flat bottom bins and allow you to stay on the ground as you close, fully open or partially open your bin lids.

Every farmer wants to get their grain (or other materials) into the bin.  While it can be a huge relief to get crops out of the field and into a safe home, this isn’t the end of the story.  Having the right tools to help with storage can save time and money and keep you safe.

Let us know if you have used the LevALERT system or have a favorite after market bin lid… drop us a comment or email Teresa@FarmFemmes.com or Karen@FarmFemmes.com


Stay tuned for a look at bin sensor technologies tomorrow.



Sprayer Lighting - Another Green Book Find

Spraying is a common task on many farms.  Sprayers can be used to control weeds or pests, and they can also be used to feed crops as they grow.  Regardless of what crops or products you are spraying, it is essential to monitor the spray pattern and spray nozzles.

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Recently a number of companies have begun to promote boom lighting.  Lights on the boom help farmers to get a better view when spraying in reduced lighting or at night.  If you are wondering why night spraying is necessary, here are a few possibilities:

  • Chemicals may evaporate more slowly

  • Plants may be less stressed in darker, cooler conditions

  • Wind conditions may be more favorable in early morning or evening conditions

  • Time pressures require farmers to operate past daylight hours


Here are a few things to consider when shopping for supplemental sprayer lighting:

  • What kind of light is used: White or blue light and box or strip

  • Where is the light (or lights) mounted? Cab or boom

  • Are mounting brackets and/or harnesses included in the price?

  • If portable, how easy is it to move from one cab to another?

  • How are the lights maintained and cleaned?

  • What is the warranty?


Let us know if you have a system installed, if you have a favorite brand of lighting and what you see as the pros or cons.