The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) recently hosted a forum aimed at identifying the agriculture industry’s innovation needs for the next decade. About 30 agriculture leaders from across Saskatchewan, Canada, gathered to give their input on the future of the industry, covering such topics as crop characteristics, rural population challenges, genetically modified crops, labor and technology.

Some of the key needs identified at the meeting included:

Smarter machines – Increase robotics in farm machinery so that 24/7 harvesting is possible with fewer workers. However, participants did not go so far as to endorse entirely driverless machinery.

Smarter crops – Research new and improved varieties of high-margin crops, and use genetic engineering to develop crops that provide for each other, such as one crop providing readily available nutrients or pesticides for another crop coming next in the rotation. 

Smarter before bigger – Build farm equipment that is easier to operate and maintain while continuing to improve efficiency.

Consumer is king – Ensure producers understand and respond nimbly to what consumers want.

Filter information overload – Ensure that farmers have access to training and unbiased advice to deal with the increasing complexity of the industry. This should include providing high quality and standardized skills training for the emerging workforce of professional farm machinery operators.

Sustainable farming – Lower the environmental impact of farming and ensure that crop varieties are viable in the long-term, even under changing climatic conditions.

“This isn’t just a wish list for the agriculture industry,” says Dave Gullacher, CEO of PAMI. “These research goals will define a major part of the future of Saskatchewan and the world.

For more information, visit pami.ca