Latest farming innovations highlighted at Canada’s Digital Farm Show

Third annual Innovations Showcase helps farmers locate new innovations in Canadian agriculture

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Canada’s Digital Farm Show is a great opportunity for farmers to view and experience the latest and greatest innovations and products within the Canadian agriculture industry.

This is the third year for the show’s Innovation Showcase, making it easier for farmers to know what is available or new at the show.

Exhibitors were asked to submit innovations to the showcase for evaluation. Products submitted to the showcase had to meet criteria that showed an industry committee that they were indeed innovative. Companies can be visited at Canada’s Digital Farm Show for more information and see video interviews with each company and organization about their products.

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Here are the 18 innovations that are part of the third annual Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show Innovation Showcase:

Livestock

Livestock fan uses 70 per cent less energy

Pols Enterprises has brought the Dacs Mag Fan to Canadian farmers (see photo at top). The high efficiency fan uses a brushless variable speed motor to reduce energy use. The fans were built from the ground up by aerospace engineer brothers who designed it around efficiency. When the fan isn’t operating, the outlet is completely covered by a blind, not louvers.

The fans are built to last and be maintenance free with no belts or pulleys within the system. They have a capacity of 47,000 cubic feet per minute and potentially reduce the farmer’s energy bills by 70 per cent compared to traditional belt-driven on/off fans.

The fans’ simple-to-use plug-and-run variable speed drive helps to facilitate their installation and the ability to run on 95 per cent of the world’s electric grid.

The fans are being used in all sorts of livestock barns, but are finding a home especially in the popular cross-or tunnel-ventilated dairy barn design.

Automated calf feeder adds new options

Calf Expert.
photo: Supplied

Calf Star has launched a new automated calf feeder, Calf Expert, for dairy farmers.

The Calf Expert automated calf feeder allows farmers to program individualized rations and flexible feeding programs with the ability to balance between whole milk and powder. The system can also connect directly to an robotic milking system and deliver milk to calves.

As well, four calves are now able to drink at the same time.

The feeder also includes automated cleaning of the nipples, two detergents, smart keys and the ability to monitor with the calf guide standard app.

These innovations were added to assist farmers in better managing their calves and in a more efficient manner.

Manure aeration improves on-farm safety

Dairypower Smart Manure Aeration System.
photo: Supplied

The new Dairypower Smart Manure Aeration System eliminates the need to agitate manure, reducing the risk of manure gas exposure and increasing the nitrogen level of the manure.

High volume, low pressure air is delivered to a rotary valve system which distributes air to air lines and aeration points installed on the bottom on the manure tank. Each air line, with 12 to 15 aeration points, is fed air for one minute before the rotary valve rotates into line two position. This continues until all air lines have received one minute of air.

The system, which was developed in Ireland, requires no human interaction as it runs automatically through the control panel. It has been installed on Ontario dairy farms starting this year.

The Smart Manure aeration system gives farmers control of their manure without having to manually agitate it. The automated system is safer for humans, livestock and the environment.

Dairypower says farmers report more available nitrogen in their manure.

BouMatic introduces new robotic milker

BouMatic Gemini.
photo: Supplied

A new robotic milker from BouMatic, the Gemini, is the only double box milker on the market to save space and investment costs for the producers.

Milking from behind the cow allows for easy cow treatment and maximum cow focus. As well, complete pre-milking routine conforming to the core BouMatic milking principles with a separate pre-milk cup as part of the milking process.

The robot is suited to fit the majority of barn layouts. Each project begins with a customized farm setup drawing to provide optimal barn layout with a compact all-in-one unit, Plug & Play Technology, an easy-to-service integrated technical room and flexible and smart two and three-way selection possibilities. All of which are integrated with no need for extra fencing or gates.

Air cleaning system can purify up to 12,000 square feet

OgenaShield.
photo: Supplied

OgenaShield is a patent-pending technology air purification system which can allow up to 12,000 square feet of air space to be cleaned of viruses, bacteria and fungal spores.

The system is an advancement of traditional Ozone Generation Purifiers and is created by Ogena Solutions. The product has received California Air Resource Board approval and only allows safe pathogen fighting compounds to be emitted by eliminating almost all the ozone that is emitted.

The innovation is ideal for lunch rooms, work areas and offices, but also, due to the increase of volumes of air being treated, it would be ideal in livestock and poultry production areas for animal health.

The technology introduced by Ogena is revolutionary in its ability to clean large volumes of air, and for the safety of those using it, because of lower use of ozone.

Whey powder to help immune function

The PMT Group introduces ProAct, a dried whey powder to “bridge the gap” in immunity within cattle, pigs, poultry and sheep.

The gap is found within young animals with limited exposure to colostrum, adult animals with low immunity and from certain vaccines and antibiotics which don’t have an immediate impact.

The product has the capability to work quickly on species specific diseases challenges with supplying the compounds to signal the immune cells.

ProAct compliments the innate and adaptive immune systems, has a modulating effect and contributes to short and long term immune responses.

The product contains crude protein and lactose and is to be mixed in with feed. It is harvested from the mammary system of cows.

ProAct can aid producers with their livestock’s reproduction system, production gains, immune modulation and livability among other benefits.

Crops

New insecticide seed trait stack

Corteva AgriScience has launched a new triple stacked corn seed trait, Qrome, to help target above and below ground pests for improved agronomic performance.

Qrome includes a genetically modified event DP4114 which stacks above and below ground protection together enabling higher yield in support of the corn germplasm.

It provides the most-balanced technology offered by Corteva brands Pioneer and Brevant with two modes of action against corn rootworm. It’s a molecular stack of proven Bt proteins from Herculex I and Herculex RW traits.

Qrome products have been shown to deliver an 8.2 bushel per acre yield advantage over competitive products with corn-on-corn acres in 2019 on farm trials. The Qrome stack is available in a greater range of hybrids, says Dave Harwood, Corteva’s technical services manager.

The new feature will help growers with corn on corn rotations to grow corn without challenging the yield potential.

Systems scares birds from crops and barns

AVIX Autonomic Mark II.
photo: Supplied

FenceFast has brought the AVIX Autonomic Mark II, an automated bird repellent system created by the Bird Control Group to the Canadian market. The product helps protect valuable crops from bird damage, without the noise, cost or disruption of other technologies.

The laser technology is used to harmlessly scare birds away from areas where they are doing damage, whereas other systems that use noise cause problems with neighbours. Netting is high cost and labour intensive.

The AVIX Autonomic Mark II isn’t just used to keep birds away from crops but can also be used around barn, fish farm, golf courses and anywhere birds are a nuisance.

Trials are being performed now for a producer in Ontario.

Equipment

Improved engine control system for manure management

SunovaWorx.
photo: Supplied

SunovaWorx will release a new remote engine control system at the 2020 Canada’s Digital Farmshow.

The Broadcaster 1+ provides new communication options such as cell direct and internet, whether wi-fi or ethernet. It also provides customers with redundancy so they never lose control, while pumping manure.

SunovaWorx will also be releasing portal control which is available on any device through the web browser.

The remote control system is intended for use on manure and water transfer pumps. The smaller and more compact design is ideal for easier installation and is compatible with other Broadcaster products.

The new design is built on the success of Broadcaster 2, with some additional key features from Broadcaster 1 and 2.

The product can improve labour efficiency by decreasing the number of people who need to be involved in the pumping operation, but can also be safer, with better ability to monitor and control the entire pumping system.

This system is ideal for a number of different industries such as agricultural, irrigation, water-transfer, dewatering, series or parallel pump set-ups and municipal pumping.

Interseeding cover crops

HFL Fabricating Biomass Builder.
photo: Supplied

HFL Fabricating introduces the Biomass Builder row unit to allow for interseeding of cover crops.

Planter row units have been used to interseed cover crops but they can be costly and don’t offer the ability to sidedress fertilizer at the same time.

The Biomass Builder row unit plants the cover crops directly into the ground, seals the trench with a press wheel, and has a third knife for the injection of 28 per cent liquid fertilizer or anhydrous ammonia. The third coulter also has the option to be changed to plant the cover crops.

The ability to have row spacing as low as 3.75 inches also provides the opportunity for relay cropping.

The Biomass Builder was created to encourage producers to adopt more cover cropping practices to improve soil and the environment.

Improved safety and efficiency on boiler system

Heizomat heating system.
photo: Supplied

Heizomat Canada heating systems have been updated to create a better experience for users including a new touch screen control panel, new electronic emissions filter, and an updated rotary valve.

All of these innovations have been applied to increase the efficiency of the boiler system and improve safety for the operator. The boiler burns wood chips that are automatically fed into the boiler system and can be used for heating any large space, including farm offices, shops and greenhouses.

The new control panel has updated graphic abilities for easier and faster monitoring of the boiler operation and provides new software for better visual of boiler functions.

The new exhaust filter is statically charged to attract dust particles in the exhaust gases. These particles are clumped together and as the electric charge cycles off the clumps fall off into the ash removal system for easy cleaning.

The new rotary safety valve prevents burn back and reverses to automatically clear fuel jams without the requirement of operator assistance.

Feature rich metering system

Montag Manufacturing.
photo: Supplied

Montag Manufacturing’s new 2108 metering system is the latest product within the GEN II family.

Similar to the 2218 and the 2208 the 2108 is a metering system with many features and all with a single tank.

The system can be used for both cover crop and fertilizer application. It contains high-quality injection molded HDPE plastic augers, with stainless steel and poly material tank for easy clean up, one hydraulic input requirement and the ability for rows to be added or removed to meet the farmer’s demands.

The tanks are offered in either 30 or 50 cubic feet and have the capability of applying 500 lbs an acre of fertilizer at five miles per hour.

The system will be launched at the 2020 Canada’s Digital Farm Show.

New reel system allows injecting manure into standing corn

All-Equip Reel Spreader.
photo: Supplied

A new manure spreader with hose reel provides a better opportunity for manure application in-crop up to 42 inches tall.

Ontario-based All-Equip Repair and Service developed the reel spreader which creates a larger window of opportunity for manure application while reducing compaction found with conventional tanks.

No longer is drag line hose required for the rush before planting. Farmers will not have to worry about losing planting days from extra moisture and can add moisture when it is needed throughout the growing season.

On farm trials are currently happening in Ontario and the system will have its North American launch at Canada’s Digital Farm Show.

Denso brings long-lasting tape to agriculture

Denso petroleum tape.
photo: Supplied

Denso’s petroleum tapes have been designed to be used in a variety of temperatures and applications. They’ve been used in the oil and gas, marine and research sectors, but the company is just now bringing it to agriculture in Canada.

The tapes will fit into many areas used by farmers, including to cover weld joints, hydraulic fittings, above or below ground piping and on structural steel.

The tape can be applied on “marginally prepared surfaces” and in tight spaces and are designed to be used in irregular shapes. The tapes contain no solvents and are safe to handle not affected by water, acids, salts or soil organics. They can be applied to cold and wet surfaces.

Agri-business services

Bridging the labour gap

Feeding Your Future.
photo: Supplied

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has launched an initiative, Feeding your Future, a Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to help agri-food employers connect with job seekers during COVID-19.

The labour gap in agriculture has been an ongoing challenge. The initiative is collaborating with partners to co-ordinate a job-matching concierge service, Virtual Career Fairs and informative webinar series.

Beyond COVID-19, the platform is particularly useful for rural and remote communities where it can be particularly difficult for employers to recruit employees over vast geographies.

Employers with one to 100 employees can sign up for free, post jobs, and make connections with job seekers from the comfort of their home or office.

OFA and its partner AgCareers.com have hosted several virtual events, as the initiative was started up quickly to help farmers looking for employees this summer – and beyond.

New tool calculates organic amendments

AgriSuite.
photo: Supplied

The Organic Amendment Calculator is a software tool from OMAFRA to help growers create a quick estimate of available nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, micro nutrients, and the dollar value of manure or other organic amendments. When the tool is used as part of a field management plan it provides economic and environmental considerations for nutrient management decisions.

A typical manure analysis will provide manure composition, but the Organic Amendment Calculator combines composition with management details for more accurate nutrient availability estimate for crop production.

The calculator is the first of its kind to provide available nutrients from manure or other organic amendments.

The tool is part of OMAFRA’s AgriSuite group of digital tools. As future tools in AgriSuite are completed, an application programming interface –API – will be added to all other company software tools so that others can use this calculator.

Phosphorus loss assessed

The Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool (PLATO) is part of OMAFRA’s AgrisSuite as a nutrient management tool.

It is a stand-alone tool that will help growers to understand the risk of phosphorus loss from manure or commercial fertilizer applications and suggest alternative practices when the risk is high.

It’s important for growers to understand their risk of phosphorus loss as excess phosphorus causes problems such as algae blooms. Additional tools such as this will help growers to measure actual site-specific risks and implement decisions.

The tool can be accessed through mobile, tablet or computer application and provides a quick and comprehensive estimate of phosphorus loss.

The tool will also be included within the Field Management Plan to indicate high risk times for the winter application of manure.

As future tools in AgriSuite are completed, an application programming interface –API – will be added to all other company software tools to use this calculator.

Digital

Virtual plot tours

Virtual plots (Maizex).
photo: Supplied

Maizex Seeds has created virtual plot tours at virtualplottour.com for the 20 Maizex Seed corn and soybean plots across the country.

In response to the pandemic, the virtual tours were created so growers can view plots from the safety of their own homes. Growers are able to access the site at their convenience and follow along throughout the year.

Each plot contains the products grown with videos and photos, along with product performance over the growing season, CHUs and rainfall information, and agronomy trials, if being conducted at the plot.

Maizex hopes the innovation will provide growers a safe and responsible method to learn more about the product line and the agronomy behind growing corn and soybeans.

New app to assist farmers in management decisions

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario is launching its Resilient Fields App at the 2020 Canada’s Digital Farm Show.

The app will help farmers to select best management practices and to assist them making decisions which will help them to decrease the loss of soil and nutrients from their field. It allows farmers to put their own information into the app, which then helps by providing them with best management practices based on their goals.

The app was created out of a request from the organizations policy roundtables across the province. Anyone can download the app. It is expect to be available in early 2021.

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Glenney

Jennifer is a farm reporter who lives in Cayuga, Ontario.

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