Western Canadian farmers are being asked to participate in a survey analyzing the adoption of precision agriculture tools, as well as the barriers to adoption and innovation, on the prairies.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has commissioned Lethbridge-area precision agronomist Dale Steele to lead the study. As he explains in the video below, the results will be used to get a handle on the technology prairie farmers are using, from basic GPS guidance to big data sensors, to inform future programs and policies.
“There’s never been a good benchmark study to know how many farmers are yield mapping, soil testing, how good their internet speeds are, cellular coverage — there’s a broad range of questions on the field of precision ag. This will help to drive forward where we’re at in the competitiveness of Western Canada,” notes Steele.
Similar studies are currently underway or have recently been completed by the University of Guelph in Ontario and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We’re going to compare our results for Western Canada to those other regions and see how Western Canada stacks up. Maybe there are unique barriers that we face here that need to be addressed in programs or policy to benefit farmers,” he says.
The survey, which began on January 9, includes 42 questions and takes around 15 minutes, says Steele, noting he’s hoping to get a good cross-section of farm sizes and types — large and small, crops and livestock-based. The deadline for completing it is Saturday, March 4.
Results will be shared with industry and grower associations in April.
Steele discussed the precision ag survey with Kelvin Heppner at CropConnect in Winnipeg (as heard earlier on RealAg Radio):