Tool is expected to be tested this summer
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Farm & Food Care Ontario and Hamilton-based Harvest Robotics are working together to develop a heat sensing tool farmers can install in their barns to help prevent barn fires.
The system is designed to perform regular scans of the barn and collect data to create a temperature map. The map can identify areas in the barn with irregular temperatures and the system will notify producers of changing conditions inside.
“The heat sensing system is capable of identifying temperatures above preset limits, ideally identifying potential fire sources before they start,” Brent Royce, animal care consultant with Farm & Food Care Ontario, said in a press release. “The idea is to produce something that’s both practical and cost effective for farmers.”
And producers say the tool would be welcome in their operations.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Kim Jo Bliss, a beef producer from the Rainy River District, told Farms.com on Thursday. “I have an older barn and I love it but I'm nervous about (fires) myself. We've made upgrades but now that it is calving time I worry a little extra with animals inside. I think it’s wonderful that we have an organization working to help us and our animals. We tend to be so busy farming that we don't take the time to look into this.”
A prototype of the sensor is expected to be field tested in the summer. Testing is scheduled to finish in October and commercialization could come afterwards.
John Taylor from the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association, which provided funding for the research projects, said in the release that he hopes the technology will reduce the impact of barn fires on farmers each year.
Farms.com has reached out to Farm & Food Care Ontario for more information on the heat sensing tool.