An agricultural technology firm based in Alberta this month unveiled a new feature on its platform.
Based in Lethbridge, Verge Ag was founded with the mission to accelerate the transition to autonomous farming.
En route its mission, the company offers two main products currently: Path Planner and Equipment Explorer.
Path Planner help growers determine the precise paths of their equipment by evaluating impact on field shape, size, and terrain complexity.
“Our algorithms utilize boundary, topography, and equipment information to automatically generate headlands and inner tracks,” the company explains online.
Equipment Explorer allows farmers to simulate equipment performance on actual fields, which can help growers make informed purchase decisions.
The latest feature addition is satellite-generated boundaries, which simplifies an otherwise complex process of mapping, data extraction, shape files, and downloads and uploads.
“One of the biggest barriers to entry for ag tech software is their reliance on field boundaries,” Verge Ag says. “There is good reason for this—How do you tell the software, ‘this is my farm’?”
Using satellite-generated boundaries, “within a few moments you can quickly and easily tell our software, ‘this is my farm.'”
The tech has other applications as well.
“One area where Satellite Generated Boundaries can shine is in the evaluation of expansion,” says Verge. “Is there a parcel of land coming up for lease next growing season? Do you really want to purchase that field next yours? What about high impact decisions like—if I do lease that land do I have enough capacity to actually hit my windows? Do I have the right equipment? Do I need more help?”
The feature enables farmers to experiment with new fields, old fields, and everything in between.
Recently, Verge received $500,000 from Alberta Innovates through the Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program to develop an interactive software with a novel algorithm that synchronizes seeding and spraying paths.
The solution developed through this project requires no additional data gathering from the grower other than field boundaries and implement width, according to the company.
With only these inputs, growers will be able to assess the impact of seed, fertilizer, and fuel on the growing season and optimize the cost of input.
“The grants we have received from Alberta Innovates have helped us make deep technical progress with our product,” stated Dr. Godard, chief operating officer of Verge, earlier this month.
“We identified significant problems we can solve for grain growers in Alberta,” the COO added, “and we also evaluated how this made-in-Alberta software solution for producers can be scaled globally.”
It’s another step for Verge toward their goal of autonomous farming.