It’s All About Family
97 per cent of Canada’s farms are family-owned and run. There are fewer farms now than in the past and the average Canadian farm is getting bigger. Technology means that farmers can produce more food and manage larger farms.
Diversity in Farming
Ontario has the most farms, but Saskatchewan’s are the biggest, and British Columbia has the largest number of small farms (those producing less than $10,000 in gross annual income). Canadian farms grow and raise everything from alpacas, bison and cattle, to lavender, grapes, greenhouse vegetables, and wheat.
Canada Feeds the World
Canada is the fifth largest exporter of agricultural and agri-food products in the world, including:
71 per cent of the world’s maple products (maple syrup and maple sugar)
40 per cent of the world’s flaxseed
31 per cent of the world’s canola (world’s leading producer)
39 per cent of the world’s pulses (world’s leading producer of lentils and peas)
52 per cent of the world’s mustard
Precision Farming: What is it?
Advancing technologies have drastically changed how we live and work – that includes farming and ranching. Technologies allowing us to more effectively raise crops and animals have had an enormous impact around the world, including in Canada.
Precision agriculture (a.k.a. precision ag, precision farming) uses different technology tools along with data collection and interpretation to make farming more efficient and effective. Agricultural technology continues to expand and grow, as new ways are developed to help farmers determine irrigation, fertilizer, and seed ratio to increase yield.
Precision technologies help farmers and ranchers save money on inputs – that is, materials like fertilizer and seed required to produce crops and livestock. Producing more food and material more efficiently, and with fewer resources. That’s the goal of precision farming.
Precision Farming Tools
- GPS (Global Positioning System): The ability for farmers to know exactly where they are in the field has allowed them to be very precise in planting, harvesting, and managing crops.
- Auto Steer: Using GPS technology as its guide, auto-steer allows tractors and combines to automatically adjust its drive path. The result is very uniform crop rows.
- Drones: It’s common to see drones being used to scout fields for pests and crop damage. When combined with different types of imaging, such as infrared, they can also tell farmers a lot about soil and crop health.
- Satellites: Satellites are being increasingly employed for field imaging – that is, using many different types of imaging to show what’s happening on the ground.
- Variable rate technology: Farmers use sprayers, wagons, planters and other equipment to apply seeds, crop protection products, and fertilizer. Variable rate tools give farmers the ability to apply different amounts of these products in different areas.
- Monitoring technology: Artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor technology is being used in a plethora of ways, and continues to be refined in an effort to help farmers stay ahead of potential problems.
- Robots and autonomous equipment: From small AI-driven weeding robots to larger autonomous, multi-platform machines, field robots are being designed to reduce the resources needed to produce crops and livestock, while helping farmers solve labour challenges and time constraints.