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FCC invests in new tech for college’s student-managed farm

FCC invests in new tech for college’s student-managed farm

Alberta’s Lakeland College receives Farm Credit Canada monetary gift to purchase soil nutrient measuring equipment.

By Andrew Joseph,

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has provided a gift of $10,000 to Lakeland College in Vermillion, Alberta to enable its student-managed farm to purchase a MobiLab unit and supplies from METOS Canada of Winnipeg, Manitoba

The MobiLab will allow students to measure nutrients in the soil and plants, making data attainable in real-time for the school’s Bachelor of Agriculture technology students and research team.

The technology is a new concept that integrates soil nutrient analyses into a single microfluidic chip. After soil samples are extracted from the field, the sample preparation can be done in the school farm’s office.

“On behalf of the college, we thank Farm Credit Canada for investing in our agricultural sciences students and research team. This MobiLab technology adds a critical layer of data to their work and provides another avenue for work-integrated learning opportunities,” said Geoff Brown, Lakeland College Dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences.

“The MobiLab technology provides on-farm analysis relevant to producer-based concerns in our region that are hard to identify. We’re excited to see this technology put to use to enhance productivity and sustainability in key commercial crops,” he continued.

With the new technology, students will be able to analyze samples and interpret results, allowing them to make informed decisions and create a positive return on investment for the application of nutrients.

Students will also be able to evaluate the total costs and return of using MobiLab compared to conventional nutrient analysis methods. The lab will integrate with the college’s existing METOS weather and soil moisture monitoring stations used by students.

The new technology also augments Lakeland’s participation in the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network activities, demonstrating the feasibility of creating a digital twin of the field.

“FCC is proud to support Lakeland College’s MobiLab unit. Students will learn not only how to use this key piece of agricultural technology but also the value it has in elevating the success of any farming operation,” offered Diana Laturnus, Manager, Special Projects at FCC.

“At FCC we are thrilled to see Lakeland’s own smart farm provide the next generation of producers with the knowledge they need to advance the technology used on Canadian farms,” she continued. “The MobiLab is a perfect fit to give students the skills that will serve them well and also the Canadian agriculture industry as a whole.”

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