Category Archives: automation

Ontario company launches made-for-farming drone technology

Greg holding the drone - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

London ON – A new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) designed and built in Ontario specifically for agricultural uses has been launched on the market.

A&L Canada Laboratories of London, Ontario has developed and equipped the first-of-its kind drone with the sensors, equipment, and software that will let farmers easily collect and interpret valuable data that will help them make good crop and business management decisions.

“We have built a plane that is a full solution – easy to fly, affordable, and with reliable software that works seamlessly,” explains Greg Patterson, Certified Crop Advisor and President of A&L Canada Laboratories. “We can have data from a plane onto a tablet on the edge of the field in 10 minutes.” Continue reading

The 10 most popular innovation stories of 2015

2991-AgInnovation-Logo-avatarBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – As we get ready to bid 2015 good-bye, we thought we would take a look back at the many stories we’ve covered this year. All are focused on food and farming, on Ontario, and on innovation.

We’ve met some fascinating people over the last 12 months and covered some great innovations. Of course we loved them all, but here are the ones that resonated with you the most – our top 10 most popular agricultural innovation stories of 2015.

(By the way, our French-speaking readers have slightly different preferences – click here for our most popular French language stories). Continue reading

Robots could soon be harvesting Ontario greenhouse veggies

Medhat Moussa and the robotic arm - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – A University of Guelph engineering professor has been developing a labour-saving solution for greenhouse vegetables growers that he is now ready to put to the test in a working greenhouse – a human-sized robot that will harvest produce and remove leaves from plants.

The prototype is armed with visioning technology that allows it to identify whether produce is ripe for harvest or not, as well as a special pick up arm that will let it gently yet firmly pluck the vegetables from the vines without damaging them.

“You are dealing with non-rigid objects like tomatoes and you will end up with ketchup if you’re not careful, so you need a very sensitive gripper that is not high cost but is also fast,” explains Dr. Medhat Moussa. Continue reading

Ontario farmers put environment first in crop irrigation

field being irrigated

Ontario corn field being irrigated using Subsurface Drip Irrigation

By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Climate change is making Ontario’s farmers look carefully at water conservation and efficient use.

Agriculture is a significant water user in the province, and after experiencing drought-like growing conditions in 2012 and watching regions in the United States deal with severe water restrictions, Ontario agricultural researchers are working to find new cropping methods to use water as efficiently as possible.

In Ontario, crop irrigation systems are most commonly used on fruit and vegetable crops; less than 5,000 acres of field corn are currently irrigated.

However, irrigation is essential to producing maximum corn yields in parts of Ontario, leading researchers and irrigation experts to team up to find new ways to irrigate crops in a more water conscious and efficient manner. Continue reading

Wearable device lets horses communicate with people

SeeHorse - horse wearing device and info on screen - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

New wearable technology for horses will let them email their owner or a veterinarian if they’re not well.

Similar to the wrist bands or gym fitness straps that people use, the SeeHorse wearable collects a horse’s vital signs and sends that information to a smart phone or other device, alerting owners, veterinarians or others when something is not quite right.

“This wearable gives a horse a tool to connect with humans like never before,” says Peter Mankowski, SeeHorse co-founder and CEO. “Horses are incredibly intelligent and majestic, but also fragile. They would like to tell us when they’re not feeling well, recovering from injury or simply missing our companionship, and SeeHorse lets them do that.” Continue reading