Autonomous platform to make Ontario debut

Canadian-developed DOT A-U1 Power Platform continues to add more implements

The U-shaped DOT A-U1 Power Platform, an autonomous farming robot, will have its Ontario debut at the 2019 Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show at Woodstock.

DOT will be accompanied by many members of the company’s Autonomous Farming team, along with CEO of DOT Farm Solutions, Robert Saik.

Why It matters: The showcase will give farmers an idea of what is coming in crop automation.

DOT was invented by Norbert Beaujot, owner of Regina-based seeding equipment manufacturer SeedMaster.

The first prototype of DOT was released in 2017 at the Ag In Motion show at Langham, Sask.

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The trip to Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show brings a lot of excitement for DOT and for Canadian farmers.

“This will be DOT’s first time in Ontario, it is also the first time that we will be signalling to the row crop marketplace that DOT is getting ready for row crop farming,” says Saik.

Currently DOT is manufactured strictly for broad acre, dry land agriculture such as canola, wheat and barley.

The robot is a “U”-shaped platform powered by a 173-hp, tier-4 Cummins engine with four hydrostatically driven wheels providing power and traction.

“The ‘U’ shape (makes) DOT capable of seeding and providing seeding operations. Then you can connect to a 120-ft. Pattison connect sprayer, decouple and connect to a new Litre 16 section precision spin spreader.”

The DOT team is currently in discussion with land roller companies and they are excited to announce a brand-new DOT ready implement to the marketplace for row croppers.

In 2018, the company focused on developing DOT-ready implements. This year the focus was on commercialization, which it hopes to wrap up in 2020.

“We have about half a dozen DOTs in the marketplace and we are also pulling more DOTS off the assembly line right now with one DOT situated in the U.S.”

Robert Saik says agriculture is changing as it continuously moves through different eras, and DOT is a perfect example of the era agriculture is in right now: convergence.

“DOT is changing the face of farming and it’s based on a lot of macro-economic issues or trends that are happening beginning with the extreme shortages of labour at the farm level,” says Saik.

Farmers are finding it difficult to find quality labour, leading to more adoption of automation to make up for it.

“We have seen that in the dairy sector and we are going to see that in the crop sector.”

DOT will be at COFS for all three days. The Evolution in Farming Demonstration will take place at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day in the West Demo Field.

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Food 5.0

On Sept. 9, Robert Saik, CEO of DOT Farming Solutions, will be presenting topics discussed in his new book “Food 5.0, How we Feed the Future” at the Oxford County SCIA meeting taking place in the Special Events tent at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.

The book focuses on the five iterations of agriculture, including the era of muscle, machine, chemistry, biotechnology and convergence, says Saik.

DOT is a great example of convergence, the era we are in right now, as automation is helping farmers deal with labour shortage issues, says Saik.

“The next 10 years, there will be 123,000 jobs vacant at the farm level, costing the Canadian economy about $11 billion in unmet productivity – DOT is going to address this challenge of us not having enough qualified operators.”

Saik is building his book on the sustainable farms platform, looking at farm viability and public perception.

“Without farm viability, you have no sustainability, and the larger public has no understanding of modern farming and they do not understand farms of consequence.”

Saik says farms of consequence refers to farms which make a living from farming – farm families that are mostly incorporated.

“There are about 20,000 farms of consequence in Canada, about 150,000-200,000 farms of consequence in the U.S, it’s a very small number.”

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer lives on a farm in Cayuga, Ontario and has a lot of experience in the many aspects of agriculture.

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