Kael Briggs, xarvio® Commercial Manager at BASF
We recognize that technology is constantly evolving and continuing to shape the world we live in. Looking ahead, new and emerging innovations will change the way companies and organizations across all industries conduct business, and agriculture is no exception.
From crop production to livestock, modern farming operations are looking to explore potential opportunities to incorporate new information and communication technologies. These digital solutions enable meaningful change to help mitigate broader, industry-wide issues, while also increasing the quantity, quality, sustainability and profitability of product outputs, enabling growers to apply Smart Farming solutions into practice.
With all of this in mind, at BASF we take our responsibility seriously as a critical player in the industry, working together to advance Canada’s position as a leading agricultural system worldwide, and paving the way for stronger economic and environmental sustainability.
Through technology and innovation, we work to support Canadian growers in maximizing yields, mitigating against pest and environmental stressors, and increasing the reliability of tools used on the farm which, when factored into their planning and decision-making processes, ultimately lead to increased efficiency, time-saving measures and optimized outputs.
As Commercial Manager for xarvio® at BASF Digital Farming, which offers a global community of digital farming solutions, I recently had the opportunity to take part in a panel event hosted by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce during its Cultivate: Agriculture Summit. During the session, I joined industry experts to discuss perspectives on the significance of these new technologies, their long-term benefits and expectations around what the future of the agriculture industry has in store.
With a growing global population and greater need for efficiency in agriculture production, farmers will require additional tools to help increase their productivity while also balancing other priorities, including maintaining effective inputs, seamlessly integrating new technologies across operations and adhering to industry best practices.
According to Statistics Canada, since 1991 we’ve seen our agricultural system increase production at an astounding rate, across a wide range of crops including barley, wheat and canola, all while reducing agricultural emissions by eight per cent. However, more can and needs to be done on this front, which can be achieved through leadership in Smart Agriculture. Smart Agriculture supports growers in operating more efficiently, and takes into account environmental impacts, such as water, fertilizer and chemical use, continuing to facilitate the application of stronger soil and land management strategies.
One example of a regional project that is currently taking place to advance Western Canada’s agriculture sector and happening right in our backyard is the Olds College Smart Farm’s HyperLayer Data Project.
With xarvio® Digital Farming as a proud funding partner of this initiative, the project successfully launched this past fall and continues to collect vast amounts of data layers from multiple field sources, aiming to develop and test algorithms specific to Western Canada growing conditions. By providing tangible solutions and helpful insight into crop nutrition, as well as weed and disease control, Western Canadian growers will be able to make more strategic decisions and optimize crop production, improving the bottom line and supporting environmental stewardship.
This will prove to be particularly valuable for farmers across in Western Canada, especially in light of recent challenges related to the drought during the 2021 growing season. While issues like these are beyond the control of growers, BASF Digital Solutions will be able to help by bringing in Smart technologies to support farmers in adapting, innovating and producing strong and healthy crops with greater resistance.
Strengthening the future of the agriculture industry
With Canada at the forefront of technology and future innovation within the agriculture industry, as noted in KPMG Canada’s report Growing Canada: How Agribusiness is Evolving, now is a critical time to continue focusing efforts on investment in research and development.
Furthermore, as new issues start to present challenges, including ongoing labour shortages, extreme weather events and climate change, which impact the industry in a number of ways, it will become even more important that we work in a manner that provides meaningful change at a macro level and incorporates a streamlined and accessible approach.
By actively working to bring new products and tools to market, BASF is committed to supporting the changing needs of Canadian growers. We are also committed to partnering with our industry to support ongoing efforts to build greater public awareness, interest and understanding of how food is produced, with transparency and integrity. Through highlighting the importance of futureproofing the Canadian agricultural industry, we can hopefully work to ensure and advocate for key crops to be grown in a more sustainable manner.
In order to effectively do so, collaboration is required to help our field continue to advance and further its progress. While many companies are making great strides on their own, working together and partnering in tandem on these efforts will allow organizations across all different facets of the industry to achieve bigger goals.
At BASF, we’re always looking for opportunities to work together with new companies and identify meaningful ways to integrate data and technology. All in all, our objective is to build stronger connections across the industry which will ultimately provide reciprocal benefits between both growers and other stakeholders.
The launch of initiatives like AgroStart represent exciting opportunities in the months ahead for us to work closely with startup companies and allow them to leverage the benefits of partnering with larger industry players to bring meaningful solutions directly to the farm.
I’m excited to see what the future holds and where we’re headed, as well as to witness how agriculture will continue to develop technically and evolve year-over-year. Through ongoing efforts specifically designed to provide Canadian growers with the support they need to help sustain modern farming through a digital lens, future changes to improve farm management, offer industry-level benefits and strengthen the health of communities are on the horizon.
In the years to follow, I hope to see these new technologies make crop optimization intrinsic to every farm.