July 20th, 2024

Ag-Expo showcases latest farming technology

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on February 29, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman A DJI Agras T40 sits on display at the Sky Drones booth this week at Ag-Expo. Drones are one of the tools helping farmers using technolgy out in the field.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Ag-Expo 2024 offers farmers an opportunity to explore the latest technology from drones remotely operated to autonomous machinery and everything in between.

Territory manager for Western Canada with Front Link, Mark Weber spoke to said this week they wanted to showcase their “Farm Droid.”

“The farm droid is the world’s first autonomous seeder and weeder and it’s 100 per cent solar powered,” said Weber.

He explained the farm droid runs 24 hours a day without the need of fuel or chemicals, as it mechanically weeds in between the rows and in between the plants.

“This comes from Denmark. When it comes to safety it goes under one kilometre an hour, it has this wire that comes around the outside, so if it does run into something it’ll stop, it’ll hit its brakes and send you an e-mail,” said Weber.

 He said in addition, if rain goes past a certain point, it will stop and send an email. There is also an app that can turn it on remotely once the rain stops, or at the beginning of the day due to other circumstances.

 “When I had this out for a demo this past summer, the son that was running the machine was really sick that day, and he turned it on remotely and asked his dad to check out the window to make sure it was going,” said Weber.

Another company displaying their products at Ag-Expo was Sky Drones and Loren Ginn said they were helping farmers become more familiar with their DJI Agras T40.

“They’re becoming more popular in Canada so we’re trying to help people get to know more about them, understand them and how to use them effectively and safely,” said Ginn.

He said one of the advantages of using a drone is the reduction in maintenance cost as well as eliminating tire tracks on the field.

“It reduces your maintenance costs enormously, because to replace one of these drones is a fraction of the cost to fix something on a high clearance sprayer, or a plane, or helicopter or something like that,” said Ginn.

 He said it also reduces fuel costs since it runs on rechargeable batteries.

Ginn said another benefit of using a drone is the ability to increase spraying efficiency, especially when using more than one drone at a time.

“Whether it’s orchards or open fields, it can do up to about 50 acres per hour, so if you do have multiple people and multiple drones running, you’re able to increase your efficiency by a significant amount,” said Ginn.

And for those looking into making connections locally, they had the opportunity to do so with Meridian, a local manufacturer. Director of sales Rob Reimer said that even though they do not direct sale, it is great to make connections during the show.

“We’re glad to be at the show this year. We have a number of different products in our booth. We build grain storage and grain handling products, we have a facility here in Lethbridge and we’ve been here for a lot of years, and we really appreciate and enjoy the show and meeting the farmers at this event,” said Reimer.

He said their facility employs 150 people and they really enjoy the Lethbridge community and the amount of support they receive from it.

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