Improving farmers efficiency, reducing emissions and driving to net zero
[February 15, 2022] Vancouver, BC – Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is proud to announce an investment in the world’s first interactive, operational planning software for autonomous agriculture. The Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture project is focused on bringing digital technologies and automation to the farm that will help farmers be more efficient, increase their output, lower their costs, and have a positive impact on the environment.
“As our country moves toward net zero, all sectors of the economy understand we must all do our part to get there. For farmers and the agriculture sector, developing digital innovations can lead to greener, faster and more sustainable food production,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “With the help of this investment, it’s great to see Canadian innovators coming together with bold and innovative ideas that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create more green jobs and support sustainable futures for Canadian farmers and families from coast to coast to coast.”
Led by Verge Ag in collaboration with Terramera, i-Open Group, Simon Fraser University and QuantoTech, this project will create a digital twin of a users’ farm to support operational planning and decision-making. The platform will leverage new data sources to help farmers characterize their fields, crops, soil, and environmental factors and combine that with historical farm data to optimize planning, manage costs and maximize net returns.
“We are excited to work with a strong consortium of partners with diverse expertise in geospatial technology, data platform development, computer vision, and artificial intelligence,” said Ryan Johnson, President and CEO, Verge Ag. “As we enter the fourth agricultural revolution, Verge Ag is poised to prepare the next generation of farmers with hyper-efficient, sustainable and autonomous farming solutions. Our ability to link agronomic planning and production to farm operations planning and productivity is just the start.”
The effects of climate change and rapidly increasing operation costs of farms are threatening the livelihood of farmers, and the stability of our food supply chain. By transforming the way food is grown, Canadian farmers are taking a bold step towards boosting agricultural productivity, reducing crop loss, and combatting agricultural greenhouse gas emissions that make up 12% of Canada’s total emissions.
“Canadian farmers rely on cutting-edge science and research to sustainably grow their businesses. Scientific breakthroughs have led to new farming technologies and practices, provided farmers with better crop varieties, and helped protect crops and livestock from pests and diseases. This investment in new digital technologies and agri-food data analytics will help make our agricultural industry even stronger while protecting the environment and opening up new market opportunities for our agri-food businesses,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The project has a total investment of $10,811,321 with $6,465,377 invested by industry and $4,345,944 co-invested by the Digital Supercluster’s Technology Leadership Program. This project is also supported by the Province of British Columbia through the StrongerBC Agritech Grant program, which focuses on strengthening BC’s economic recovery, agriculture sector and food security by supporting food producers and agritech innovators. Other investment support is being provided by Mitacs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global supply chain reinforces the need for innovative solutions to make sure people have access to safe and sustainable food,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “B.C. is proud to invest in new technology and innovation that will strengthen our food security and builds a stronger, cleaner province that works for more people.”
“We have seen B.C. farmers, engineers and software developers achieve amazing things that increase on-farm production, efficiency and sustainability when they work together,” said B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Lana Popham. “This platform offers opportunities to do all of those things as well as help guide crop and business decisions that will support B.C.’s food security and food economy.”
“We need to act quickly and ambitiously if we are to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our agriculture sector. That is exactly what is happening in this project. Solutions such as the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture project will improve the sustainability of our farming sector, while delivering on the imperative to reduce carbon emissions,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster.
More information on the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture project can be found here.
Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Technology Supercluster is building a better Canada by growing Canadian businesses, creating a digitally skilled workforce and positively impacting lives across our country. We accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies that keep Canadians healthy, address climate change and drive economic productivity. Through a powerful combination of co-investment, cross-sector collaboration, IP creation and digital talent development, we unlock the potential of Canadians to lead and succeed in the Digital world. For more information, visit: https://www.digitalsupercluster.ca/
For media inquiries, please contact Elysa Darling (email@example.com) or call 587-890-9833.
QuantoTech both operates its farms and designs and builds its own proprietary equipment. This vertical integration eliminates the costs and inefficiencies of outsourced manufacturers who sell equipment to farmers. This allows our farms to operate at a significantly reduced cost, even in small deployments, and gives us cost parity with California and Mexico produce.
With vertical integration, QuantoTech is in the process of rapid deployment of farms of all sizes suitable to satisfy the needs of the communities in which they are located.
QuantoTech Solutions Ltd. operates micro farms to promote food security and sustainability by bringing fresh produce to unconventional climates and under-served communities.
QuantoTech Solutions has supplied LED lights with Wi-Fi control and integrated cloud storage capabilities to a university reasearch facility.
“Our customers are asking us for cloud storage of remote grow parameters so they can optimize harvest performance from a distance. This example of precision agriculture supports QuantoTech’s mission of seving Northern and isolated communities,” said Alycia van der Gracht, Manager of Operations and Supply Chain.
QuantoTech Solutions Ltd. is an engineering service company that supplies energy-efficient and environment-friendly LED lighting systems to commercial growers.
“Thanks to the generous contribution from the Investment Agriculture Foundation, QuantoTech was able to further develop energy-saving LED lighting systems and create lighting solutions that benefited both northern growing and enclosed growing facilities who both encounter similar lighting constraints,” says Alycia van der Gracht, Manager of Operations and Supply Chain.
Be sure to check out Endura-Form’s booth at the GLOBE Forum on March 14th, 15th, and 16th 2018. The GLOBE Forum will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, East Building, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver and you can find Endura-Form in Ballroom B. They will be showcasing a highly portable, miniature greenhouse featuring a QuantoTech light as well as their innovative plastic heated floor panels. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Vancouver Convention Centre, East Building 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
QuantoTech Solutions has built a cloud-based, enclosed plant monitoring and control system. The system is being used for a research project that evaluates cost effective sensor solutions that can accurately predict key performance indicators of plant health. This project was made possible with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
“Providing a cost effective means to quantitatively measure plant health will be beneficial to both large-scale commercial growers as a way to quantitatively measure plant growth and health, as well as, smaller facilities which may not have access to on-site expert knowledge. The software provided in the cloud based system allows for simple visualization of data providing plant growth trends and key performance indicators, and eventually periodic recommendations and automated changes in the plant environment,” said Alycia van der Gracht, Manager of Operations and Supply Chain.
The first experimental crop consisted of microgreens. The imaging and analysis system was able to detect and predict harvest performance within the first 24 hrs of germination. This capability would allow growers to re-plant rather than suffer through a failed harvest.
QuantoTech Solutions has supplied LED lights for vertically staged germination and growing at Terramera for use in growth trials.
“Any vertically staged growth requires a thin form factor light to make the most of the limited space. QuantoTech’s ultra-flat Q75 panels use diffused LED light allowing plants to grow right up close to the light source without risk of burning or harming the plant,” said Alycia van der Gracht, Manager of Operations and Supply Chain.
“The high level of uniformity found in QuantoTech’s lights generate greater homogeneity in our trial crops. This leads to more accurate data for our research and a higher level of precision in our results,” Said Jonatan Montpetit Plant Physiologist at Terramera.