Olds (Rural Roots Canada) – The Olds College Smart Farm is leading agriculture innovation through the use of its HyperLayer data concept.
By collecting and combining data layers from its 2,800-acre farm and partnering with BASF/xarvio and its cutting-edge algorithms, the Smart Farm is developing and testing algorithms specifically tailored to Western Canada’s unique growing conditions.
Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, Chief Technology Officer of Digital Ag at Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, explains the process and how they’re layering a lot of differing data.
“We started collecting high-resolution geospatial data from our fields and we started with one-acre grade soil sampling for 20+ different soil characteristics. We added other layers like measuring soil electrical conductivity, gamma-ray spectrometry, soil compaction and yield data, and a few other data layers.”
Melnitchouck says it can be a challenge to gather and process all this data.
“It’s a very time-consuming and challenging project because it’s quite unique. No one has done anything like this before, so being the first is always a challenge. We’re working on that.”
Although the process of layering and analyzing multiple data sets is complex, Melnitchouck believes that this technology has the potential to become a powerful tool for farmers.
“We still have more time to figure out how exactly this should look and how we deliver that solution to the market and the industry, whether in a partnership, provided as a service, or as an educational tool. It’s still up for discussion depending on the results.”
As farmers and producers continue to face mounting pressure to optimize crop yields while promoting sustainable farming practices, coupled with the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Hyper Layer data collection project at Olds College could play a crucial role in the industry’s evolution.