February 5, 2021

A Successful Season Using DOT

The Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) team has completed analysis of the data collected from the first season using the DOT Autonomous Platform. The multi-year research project will look at the technical, economic, environmental, and social factors associated with the operation of autonomous farm equipment in the Canadian prairies.

The goal of the 2020 DOT operations was for the team to learn and understand the operational needs and capabilities of the DOT equipment, while collecting baseline data on fuel consumption, field efficiency, and labour requirements.

2020 season achievements, included the following:
  • The Olds College DOT completed 34 missions during the 2020 growing season:

    • Seeding 125.6 acres

    • Spraying 2078.6 acres

    • Spreading 240.7 acres

  • The Olds College DOT completed all required seeding and spraying activities in a 106-acre field of barley at Olds College (Field 15-16).

  • The Olds College DOT was able to finish all missions on the Olds College Smart Farm that it started, without the need for conventional equipment to complete the field activity.

  • The average uninterrupted time of hands-off operation for seeding and spraying were 14.2 minutes and 20.2 minutes respectively. 

  • The longest recorded time of uninterrupted hands-off operation for seeding and spraying was 37 minutes, and 1 hour, 17 minutes respectively.

Read the full report here to learn more

Forage Biomass Assessment

In the last decade, remote sensing tools became an essential component of precision agriculture. Satellite and aerial imagery is extensively used for field monitoring and crop condition assessment.

The Olds College Smart Farm extensively uses remote sensing in farming operations and research. Recently, we conducted an experiment on comparative usage of imagery from satellites and UAVs with ground sampling for estimation of green biomass yield in two hay fields and two pastures. Knowing the amount of green biomass in the field is very important for farming operations. In the pastures, it is possible to move cattle to certain areas and determine, for how long the animals will have enough food. For silage fields, it is possible to determine the amount of green feed that will be harvested, or calculate the harvested area sufficient to fill up the silage pit, and plan your operations accordingly.

Read the full report here to learn more

GPS Accuracy Explained 

In today’s precision agriculture world, the Global Positioning System (or more commonly known as GPS) is at the core of the most common applications of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology.  From machine guidance and auto-steering, to variable rate application of inputs based on the location within the field, to mapping harvest yields, GPS is vital to achieving the desired outcomes of utilizing these systems. 

Did you ever wonder, what makes GPS so accurate? Instructor Simon Knutson provides us with a deeper understanding in his paper GNSS (GPS) Accuracy Explained.

The topics addressed and contents of the paper were written based upon student-submitted papers for the GNSS Accuracy Assignment, as part of the Precision Agriculture Techgronomy Diploma, AGT 1007 Electronics and Control Systems course, fall semester 2020.

Read the GNSS (GPS) Accuracy Explained Paper

Field Crop Development Centre at Olds College

The Field Crop Development Centre has officially transitioned from Alberta Agriculture & Forestry to Olds College. The centre is located in Lacombe, Alberta and has been developing enhanced cereal varieties for feed, forage, malt, food and bio-industrial uses since 1972. 

The FCDC is recognized as a world-class research facility that is focusing on producing new barley and triticale varieties, as well as maintaining a vast source of germplasm. The researchers continue to focus on high yield, improved disease resistance, and superior end use quality characteristics. The plant breeders employ traditional plant breeding techniques as well as single seed descent to advance lines at a faster rate. Variety development is supported by FCDC’s pathology, biotechnology, and quality laboratories, which use technology such as molecular markers and Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to more efficiently target specific disease resistance and quality characteristics.

Learn more about FCDC Here

Free Webinar:
Introduction to Autonomous Agriculture

Date: February 24, 2021  @  7:00pm - 9:00pm
Delivery: Online
Cost: Free

Olds College and TD Canada Trust are collaborating to develop and deliver the Autonomous Agriculture Education Series Sponsored by TD Bank Group. The education series is designed to take producers on a journey from a concept through to the adoption of practice on their own operations.

Register today for our FREE introductory webinar on February 24, 2021 and find out what Autonomous Agriculture can do for you! 

Join guest speakers, industry leaders and producers for a free 2-hour virtual webinar to hear about how automation and data-analytics are currently being used in agriculture and learn how you could adapt and adopt on your own operations.

Register Today!

Olds College Smart Farm in the News

Planning for AgSmart 2021 Underway

Planning for AgSmart 2021 is underway. Scheduled to take place August 10 & 11, 2021 at Olds College, the outlook for the event is positive with the expo being completely outdoors and scheduled for the summer timeframe. Event organizers will be monitoring the COVID-19 regulations and adapting the event as requirements change.

AgSmart will be showcasing what’s new and coming down the pipeline through interactive exhibits, industry expert sessions and hands-on demos. Farmers can expect to see and learn from top industry influencers such as Raven with their DOT platform, the latest in drone tech, new livestock focused innovations and so much more.

“Vantage Canada shares AgSmart and Smart Farm’s dedication and focus on innovation in the agriculture industry so it’s a perfect opportunity to showcase our latest ag technology in action,” says Candace Warder of Vantage Canada.
“The opportunity for everyone in agriculture to experience the latest technology available and decide what to integrate into their farming operation is valuable. We look forward to connecting with farmers and growers to build modern precision solutions with efficiency, accuracy and economics in mind.”

The event is a unique opportunity for producers to engage with the Smart Farm and do a deeper dive into the projects and their outcomes. These projects will be showcased through each of the interactive elements within the expo, such as sensor cluster demo, regenerative grazing sessions and hyperlayer data.

“AgSmart provides the College with a unique and critical platform to demonstrate technologies and share results with our key audiences: technology developers and technology users (farmers),” says Joy Agnew, Associate Vice President, Applied Research. “The event also provides us with an opportunity to get important feedback from stakeholders on technologies and practices to explore and questions to ask in future research projects. It’s extremely important to remain as connected as possible with our clients and the ecosystem as a whole and AgSmart allows us to do that.”

Ag tech related companies can showcase their product or service at the expo through exhibits or partnership with the event. Attendee tickets will be available this spring. For additional information, visit or follow AgSmartOlds on social media for the latest updates.