Protein Advantage Manitoba

By Bill Ashton

April 25, 2019

At an agriculture-industry consultation, over 100 participants heard about big data on the farm.

Ray Bouchard talked about a data trust and argued that ownership of data should rest with whoever produced it. Farming with data has great potential to improve operations by increasing yield and reducing costs. More broadly, data amalgamated with other farmers and service providers is valued along the supply chain.

Wade Burns clearly sees digital agriculture as integral to the 4th industrial revolution: data assists producers and is important to crop insurers and crop processors.

Dairy herds in Manitoba are the most digitally advanced in Canada, according to Henry Ross. Thirty-five percent of herds in MB are hands free; in other words , they use robotic milking. While labour shortages may have driven decisions to go robotic, such benefits of filling labour shortages are shortly eclipsed by the benefits of data from each cow, be it monitoring milk quality, health, levels of activity, and even rates of food intake and digestion. Over the next ten years, Henry sees 75% of dairy farmers using robotics. Equally important, some of this same farm herd data is being organized so that can consumers can look at farm operations in a way they have never been able to before.

Above, Henry Holtman of Rosser Holsteins Ltd. talks about robotic milking machines on farms. Wade Barnes (right) of Farmers Edge and Ray Bouchard (centre), Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative spoke about digital agriculture, data trusts, and the value of farmers owning their own data and sharing it.

Maurice Bouvier, assistant deputy minister of Manitoba Agriculture, explained the forward-looking farm-to-fork advantage of featuring plant and animal protein. Read The Manitoba Protein Advantage consultation paper.