The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) works with and helps fund innovators in bringing new technology to the ag sector.

CAAIN has been involved in 100 plus collaborations and is investing $30 million into 24 projects.

CEO Darrell Petras says CAAIN has been involved in bringing some key projects to the market.

"So we are still relatively new. A lot of our projects are still underway, but we are seeing tangible results at this point. For example, the support we provided to DOT that was purchased by Raven and then purchased by CNH has become a critical platform technology that was highly sought after by industry."

He notes their funding calls are not the typical grant model they are structured as reverse payment for qualified expenses. 

Petras talks about one of the latest projects a Super GeoAI Platform for Automating Manual Observation Associated with Wheat Prodution.

"We're taking some of the subjectivity out of grain grading, and we're relying on AI. We're relying on technology to make an objective assessment of grain quality. Now looking at that, from our particular lens, farmers are often price takers.  They, however, have some degree of control over the quality of their products. Some degree, they can't control the weather, of course, but we want to make sure they're getting a fair price for the products they're producing .. for the grain. And of course, we want to make sure the buyer is getting what they paid for. "

Super GeoAI Platform for Automating Manual Observation Associated with Wheat Prodution is a free app that is available from Apple or the Google play store.

The app was developed by Dr Weiping Zeng of Saskatoon who growing up on a family farm recognizes the fact that grain quality is extremely important for producers.

He points out that the AI app can count seeds like wheat, canola, peas, and lentils and can grade wheat based on different quality perspectives like drought and ergot.

The cost of the project was almost $1.2 million dollars with 372 thousand dollars coming through CAAIN's open call funding program

Zeng notes that the money has been very helpful, adding they wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are now without it. 

He adds probably the greatest value they’ve received through their association with CAAIN has been the network they’ve joined. 

Zeng says that thanks to the doors this competition opened .. they are now collaborating with Olds College and the University of Saskatchewan. 

You can find more information on the Super GeoAI Technology here.

To hear the Prairie Ag Wire feature focusing on the project click on the link below.