Demonstrations Highlight Farming’s Future

Demonstrations Highlight Farming’s Future

Mike Duncan drone

Dr. Mike Duncan (right) describes the type of information that will be gathered by the drone. Neal Pilger is preparing to launch. Photo: Mike Zettel/Metroland


Hovering above the grapes growing in the experimental field behind Niagara College’s Wine Visitor and Education Centre, the drone represents maybe a few hundred dollars worth of investment, writes Mike Zettel on

The payload it’s carrying, an infrared imaging device, is worth considerably more, and the information it’s providing is priceless.

On Oct. 5, Dr. Mike Duncan and his team working at the college’s research and innovation division provided a demonstration of their work using GPS-equipped tools to gather and analyze enormous amounts of data from farmers’ fields.

This information will provide farmers with a clearer picture of what’s going on with their crops – for example the temperatures on the ground, just above the ground and higher.

For the past year, Duncan’s team has been working on the Niagara College Crop Portal, an example of what’s called precision agriculture. Working with more than a dozen Ontario farmers, the project involves gathering and interpreting the field data with the view to providing these farmers with advice on how to manage their crops with more accuracy.

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