List of Questions
What is the scope for genomics to improve crops frost tolerance?
Understanding the genetic basis of frost tolerance is essential for preventing yield losses caused by frost due to cellular damage, dehydration and reduced metabolism. Frost during seedling development in the late spring and seed maturation in the early Fall is one of the major factors affecting western Canadian crop production, resulting in significant yield reduction and low seed quality. What could be the tools to genetically gain the yield loss due to frost tolerance in multi-crop environment.
Variable-rate fertilizer technology is the most widely adopted use of Ag Tech in western Canada. Over 80% of platforms and services do not contain maps that delineate soil, water, and topography attributes. Are yield maps and satellite imagery layers alone be accepted as the gold standard for variable-rate fertilizer and seed? If not, what is?
Scaling soil mapping is hard and expensive. 100's of millions of dollars of venture capital and big chem company money is being poured into digital platforms that scale the easy products - yield maps and satellite imagery. Thus, the industry is awash in options for software and services that promise variable-rate everything from these data sources. However, as Les Henry often says "water drives everything" and the variable-rate industry lacks the ability to map soil types, textures, topography, water flows, and salinity and other soil potential characteristics that are critical to understanding fertilizer response. There is no leadership from researchers or scientists on this currently. The industry sells whatever they want. The scientific community is AWAL on the topic of variable-rate fertilizer and how it should be done right.
What can be determined from NDVI maps?
We can quickly and easily create NDVI maps using drones, and would like to learn more about how this information benefits farmers.
What is required to import the NDVI map information into other farm equipment (i.e. variable rate sprayer), in order to target locations identified on the map instead of just spraying the entire field?
We can quickly and easily create NDVI maps using drones, and would like to learn more about how this information can be an input for other existing technology.
Who do you see as the end-users of drone technology for agriculture and why? i.e. agronomists, farmers, drone service providers, etc?
Depending on where you are in the world, the economics of drone adoption for farming will change. I would like to learn more from your perspective of what you think about the adoption rate and who is going to be the largest adopter of this type of technology?
How else could drones/automated small ground-based robotics such as our DraganScout (https://www.draganfly.com/products/draganscout/overview) make agricultural workflows more productive? i.e. soil sampling, spot spraying, etc.?
Most cost effective and precise methods for determining plant health and diagnosing issues?
We are looking into using various types of imagery equipment and looking for resources and help in this area.
cost effective and efficient way to mount and equipment mentioned above, we want the system to be pre-programmed for a certain scan twice a day?
This system would be mounted in a modular grow container that would be 12x12x45 feet and our current best selected option is a gantry style system using a similar design to CNC or 3D printer unit.
What does an individual farmer's value chain look like?
There are a lot different pieces of the value chain - producers, production practices, crop input use, sustainability tools, grain quality, transparency/traceability, end-use needs... How can this all be pieced together? Is blockchain actually viable?
How will the use of autonomous agriculture equipment change the way precision seeding is done, with respect to new seeding techniques and inter-cropping practices, compared to traditional seeding practices?
The client was specifically wondering what a more efficient configuration than rows would look like and how autonomous vehicles would make inter-cropping more viable for broad acre farming.
What impacts will Blockchain have on the agricultural industry?
Blockchain is a new and upcoming disrupting technology that has potential to have a huge impact on the agriculture industry. What are some of the challenges with Blockchain that will need to be addressed before adoption of the technology can occur?
Lallemand Inc. is interested in connecting with researchers to study plant-microbe interactions to further understand certain biological mode(s) of action.
Can a full representative model be created to allow for simulation testing of abrasive soil material flow over ground engaging tools?
Agricultural manufacturers still mainly utilize iterative field testing of ground engaging tool designs (that create seed furrows or fertilizer furrows in a field) in order to determine durability and wear resistance. This is very time consuming and is dependent on weather and seasonal testing. A computer model that would allow for simulated wear testing on new designs would rapidly trial many new concepts and reduce development time and costs.
Is it possible to simulate a complete pneumatic conveyance system right from blower/fan system to metering apparatus through to discharge tubes carrying product to the soil?
So far, CFD packages tend to be strong in analyzing air flow through pneumatic conveyance systems, but they are not good at modelling the results once granular products such as wheat, peas, fertilizer etc is added. The idea would be to simulate the entire system so that proper sizing of components, optimization of the delivery apparatus and discharge configuration can be done before bench validation testing even begins.
Is there a definitive way that in row uniformity (seed placement within a seed furrow) can be measured and a determination made on whether or not singulation of seeds is beneficial and to which crops?
Air seeding systems randomly disperse seeds within a furrow which can lead to uneven spaces between the individual seeds in the furrow. On the other hand, singulation seeders (corn planters for example) place seeds at an exact distance apart within the furrow. We want to know two things: is there a way to measure how uniformly an air seeding system is placing product in the furrow and in different seed types, does exact/even spacing between seeds make any difference.
What technology is in the pipeline to help reduce nutrient runoff or improve nutrient use efficiency?
The question of how technology in fertilizer application will impact the use of P and K is not well documented.
What technology is in the pipeline to improve agriculture's environmental footprint?
Are there any new developments in reduction of greenhouse gases in the Ag sector? Any relevant research on which will have a greater impact on improving agriculture's environmental footprint, adoption of practices or use technology?
What are some innovative solutions to achieve long-term viability in nodule-forming rhizobia used in commercial inoculants?
The use of biologicals to enhance crop productivity is an established technology that continues to show tremendous potential for sustainable agricultural practices that address the global need for increased food outputs from decreased arable land. While diverse fungi and bacteria have been commercialized, Gram-negative, nodule-forming rhizobacteria (e.g. Rhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, Sinorhizobium, etc.) have emerged as key players in the commercial inoculant industry. Such microorganisms, that lack sporulation potential or recognized “resting-stages” in their life cycle, present unique challenges to industry in terms of retaining inoculant cell viability throughout the time-period spanning production, distribution to retailers and field application by individual growers. Further, product efficacy requires that bacterial cells in field applied products not just retain viability, but also outcompete resident microbiota for nodule occupancy. Products available to individual growers are often found as nutrient rich carriers (e.g. peat or peat-containing products) that: i) retain viable populations of cells at high titre; and ii) can be used as a delivery mechanism for the inoculants as either a seed coating or as a granulated product for direct field application. While effective, it is also recognized that natural populations of rhizobia survive and propagate year after year under drought conditions and without the support of a nutrient dense matrix. This realization presents an opportunity to develop innovative strategies and advanced technologies focused on the improved stabilization of rhizobia in commercial inoculants without nutrient and water support. Improved stabilization technologies would be of tremendous value to inoculant producers for both cost feasibility and production-distribution considerations. Further, stabilized cell populations could extend planting windows offering enhanced flexibility and protection for both agricultural retailers and individual growers. The challenge for the AIMday AgTech 2018 panel is to discuss strategies for achieving enhanced stabilization of nodule-forming rhizobia on nutrient and water limited carriers. Possible areas of discussion could include, but are not limited to: i) advanced understanding and exploitation of native microbial desiccation tolerance strategies (e.g. biofilm formation, EPS-biosynthesis); ii) product formulations (e.g. additives) that stabilize viable populations on seeds or other carriers; and iii) process-engineering strategies for enhanced cell preservation. As much as possible, panel members are encouraged, but not required, to consider cost feasibility and the practicality of large-scale process implementation into their proposed strategies
How can high-throughput technologies be adapted or developed to meet the needs of commercial inoculant producers?
A major hurdle facing agriculture, specifically commercial inoculant producers, is a lack of broadly applicable, scalable, high-throughput technologies. For many producers, product development and launch could potentially be significantly expedited by such technological innovations. Many high-throughput strategies have been developed in diverse disciplines of microbiology and show great potential for adoption into bio-agriculture. However, many of these reported “high-throughput” technologies are marred by challenges that limit their incorporation into industry. Such challenges include: i) the requirement for costly and highly-specialized equipment; ii) assay development and validation can be time-consuming and is often strain, condition or experiment specific; and iii) developed technologies can take multiple years to be accepted by regulatory bodies and/or industry standards. Despite such hurdles, industry is still eager to find or develop innovative approaches that meet our needs. Areas of specific interest include: i) High-throughput enumeration platforms. Regulatory bodies and industry continue to rely on colony-forming units (cfus) per unit (gram or ml) as the standard enumeration method for both research purposes and to guarantee product efficacy. To be transferrable to industrial workflows, replacement technologies should be applicable to diverse microorganisms (bacteria, fungi), be appropriate for enumeration of vegetative cells and/or spores, differentiate between viable/non-viable cell populations and have potential for targeted enumeration of specific strains in both defined and undefined microbial consortia. ii) Advanced technologies for screening inoculant compatibility with seed- or field-applied chemistries. Individual growers will often use commercial inoculants in combination with fertilizers or biocontrol products at the time of seeding. However, product compatibility is essential in order for growers to find full value in their investment. High-throughput innovations to rapidly assess chemistry-inoculant compatibility are needed. A particular area of interest is in the development of technologies that enumerate viable cell populations when both chemistries and microbes are stacked on-seed. Advancements in off-seed viability analyses including both culture dependent/independent technologies are also of tremendous value. High-throughput innovations are of value at all stages of product development including fundamental research and discovery, product/process optimization and quality control of the finished product. Particular interest is in the development of technologies that meet the needs of the latter two stages, however. A specific challenge for the AIMDay AgTech 2018 panel is to propose innovative solutions that involve established or novel technologies that could be used to address these specific needs.
Regarding multi-species mixed grain, crops processing: What multi-species mixed grain combinations have the greatest potential to be processed together as one (without separation) into food products? For example, can a multi-species mixed grain of Fababean and Chickpea, be taken as one load (without separation), and processed together into a food product?
How can technology be used to provide full traceability of leafy material from field to consumer?
There is much interest in collecting the leaves from industrial hemp at a large scale in Saskatchewan to provide another revenue stream from hemp production (CBD extraction from leaf material). Consumers and retailers want to be able to pick up a bottle or package with a CBD related product in the store and know where the material originated (location, Health Canada license information, year of crop, etc.)
What technologies or processes are available for efficient and cost-effective on-farm drying and handling of leafy/chaff material from hemp?
There is much interest in collecting the leaves from industrial hemp at a large scale in Saskatchewan to provide another revenue stream from hemp production (CBD extraction from leaf material). Producers need a way to manage collected leaf material (likely in chaff form) to ensure CBD quality is retained while the material is stored on-farm (likely 1 to 6 months). The moisture content at collection is likely 20% or more.
How can technology and sensors be implemented to reduce the risk and frequency of ag machinery powerline and power pole contacts?
Over the past number of years as ag machinery has continually increased in size, the number of pole and line contacts has increased as well. Equipment damage, downtime, injury, and even death can all be a result of contacts and technology may have an answer to reducing the risk of these incidents.
Smart farm and standardless ecosystem
What are your thoughts on non-standardized fragmented ecosystem with more Ag software/OEMs coming up with new and innovative agricultural IoT tools and platforms to improve efficiency. However, interoperability is a concern as analysis will be fragmented and undercut the real benefits possible to the farmer.
There are many sensors capable of providing in-season crop data, but the adoption rate of these technologies remains low. What has to be done to move this more into the mainstream and have the technology more widely adopted? What are the main downfalls or limitations preventing the adoption of these technologies?
There are many sensors used for in-season uses that collect crop or soil information. This can be used for variable rate control, field mapping and decision making. There are many of these sensors available on the market, but the overall uptake seems to be low, even though there appears to be benefits. What is the reason for this? Is it due to high costs for the technology, do the available sensors not work very well, are these systems too complicated to use or are there other reasons that these have not been widely adopted? What needs to be done to improve the adoption?