GFM Network News


Cloud farming

The power of deep learning will unlock much of agriculture’s future, thanks to enormous potential of ‘The Cloud’

Reading Time: 7 minutes From the ground, cloud technology is a lot like one of those fast-moving, cumulus clouds you see on the horizon in summer. It seems so full of rain, and rain would be great for the crop, but all the while you tell yourself not to wish too hard. But cloud technology is here. It’s happening, […] Read more

A cutaway view of a Xaver robot shows it is built on a modular design, and in the future it could potentially be repurposed to do jobs other than seeding corn.

‘Xaver’-ing success

AGCO’s MARS project lands a new name ahead of its market release

Reading Time: 3 minutes Several months ago Country Guide reported on the field robot project called MARS, which is an acronym for Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms. It began as a joint research project between the European Commission and AGCO’s Fendt brand. At the Agritechnica machinery show in Hanover, Germany, in November, AGCO revealed the project has moved beyond the […] Read more


Smart stuff

Do parents really recognize the skills their children are bringing back from college and university, and how those skills can make the farm stronger?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Skip the smiley faces and the acronyms. In the new age of digital soft skills, agricultural schools are embracing the same modes of electronic communication as their students, albeit with a dose of finesse, professionalism and, at times, trepidation. “Don’t use emojis, they’re cute, but they’re not professional,” Mark Fournier of Alberta’s Olds College tells […] Read more

To play in the big leagues

Investors with deep pockets are asking, “Why aren’t Canada’s ag entrepreneurs taking the world by storm?” Now they think they’ve figured out how to join in making it happen

Reading Time: 6 minutes From his desk in San Diego, former farm manager turned corporate investor Arama Kukutai has been pitched 822 times in the last year by farmers, ag scientists and entrepreneurs, all of them wanting to use his money to grow their brainwaves into the next Apples and Amazons of the world’s $3 trillion ag market. Almost […] Read more


The mobile robot unit (with the tower in the background) is capable of taking phenotypic measurements of a corn plant at three different levels, without damaging the plant.

Probing drought stress in corn

The potential for measuring, modelling and helping improve production is astounding

Reading Time: 6 minutes The design and creation of a new robotic device for phenotyping plants is a double-sided boon to agriculture. On one hand, it is indicative of the enormous potential of the autonomous systems now in development for farm applications. On the other, it’s a huge leap forward for researchers and plant breeders and their ability to […] Read more

Jitendra Paliwal (left) adjusts the antennae on the 3D electromagnetic imaging system at the U of M’s grain storage research laboratory while Paul Card (right) watches.

Detecting spoilage before it starts

An adaptation of cancer-screening technology offers a better and safer way to check for grain bin moisture, with a bonus of theft detection

Reading Time: 5 minutes An electromagnetic imaging technique originally designed to detect breast cancer tumours is now being adapted for a totally different use — locating spoiled grain in bins. The research project at the University of Manitoba uses electromagnetic imaging (EMI) to create a 3D profile of a bin, showing pockets of moisture which can overheat and spoil. […] Read more


The MARS research project uses swarms of small autonomous robots to seed fields.

Heading to MARS

This new ag robot concept uses swarms of small machines

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new research project underway in Europe may give farmers a reason to think swarms are a good thing. Far from swarms of locusts or other troublesome pests, the MARS (Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms) pro­ject is working on creating swarms of small, autonomous robots that can seed farm fields on their own. The MARS project […] Read more

Getting started at variable rate

A new computer system may help farmers find their optimum path into precision farming

Reading Time: 7 minutes It seems nothing ever happens fast enough in our society, not with Internet connections or email replies, and not with the adoption of technology on the farm. At least, that’s the complaint from the manufacturers and service providers who say farmers just aren’t buying into precision farming fast enough. Of course, from many farmers’ points […] Read more


Friendships for your life

For more and more of us, loneliness is a serious health risk

Reading Time: 5 minutes In the farming community, being independent is a point of pride. However, too much independence is actually bad for your health if it leads to social isolation. The research is clear. Multiple studies over the past three decades have shown that loneliness kills. It’s as bad for your health as smoking, being obese, having high […] Read more

Among the positives of using community or on-farm data, says Karon Cowan, there’s the opportunity to learn from one’s own farm data that’s appealing.

A place for community data

“Mining data isn’t a substitute for doing actual research,” warns seed company scientist

Reading Time: 7 minutes In the past five years, precision agriculture systems have begun providing an exciting opportunity to collect and pool data on factors ranging from yields to soil quality and beyond. Each data set offers greater insight into the characteristics of a field and its variability, or to its potential response to different treatments and management practices. […] Read more