Category Archives: automation

Canadian mobile device offers instant dairy cow health check

results-webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Queensville, Ontario – “A dairy farmer, an engineer and an accountant walk into a barn…”

That’s the setup for Dairy Quality Inc., a Queensville, Ontario-based company that prides itself on creating high tech solutions to meet dairy farming challenges. The company’s latest product is an innovative new device that gives dairy farmers instant updates on a cow’s health and milk quality.

With the RT10 device and Dairy SCC app, farmers use a mobile fluorescent microscope connected to a smart phone to test milk samples from individual cows. The device works with an iPhone app to provide real-time readings of specific health indicators, including somatic cell count (SCC), which is the most important indication of dairy cow health.

“Currently, dairy farmers across North America receive a monthly report from Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) that indicates SCC data,” says Chris Gans, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dairy Quality Inc. “Our product doesn’t replace that service, but a lot can happen on a dairy farm in 30 days. Dairy SCC offers farmers the ability to have more immediate information relating to the health of each individual cow.” Continue reading

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