In October of 2020, the Manitoba Industry-Academia Partnership (MI-AP) hosted its inaugural AIMday Digital Agriculture, an event which brought together Manitoban industry and its top academic researchers to exchange ideas and tackle real-world challenges within the ever-emerging digital agriculture sector.
An exciting product from the AIMday event was a collaborative sensor technology project between Manitoban company Enns Brothers and Red River College (RRC).
During the AIMday discussions, Enns Brothers presented their need for new sensor technology to effectively measure rainfall in an agricultural setting. Dr. Jon Ziprick, Instructor in Computer and Information Systems Technology at RRC, put forward a proposal for a joint project between Enns Brothers and RRC to develop custom weather stations using an array of small sensors to measure soil moisture.
In the summer of 2021, with a boost from ICTC’s Student Work Placement Program, Enns Brothers hired a student from RRC to develop the sensor hardware. They were able to utilize the AIMday pre-study funding of $1,000 provided by MI-AP to purchase all the necessary materials for the project. By the end of the summer, the student had developed and coded a successful prototype capable of measuring and uploading soil moisture.
RRC’s ACE Project Space has since adopted the project and a team of researchers developed the web dashboard for the sensor in the fall of 2021. The web dashboard will allow users to view plots and maps of raw data, and the have ability to analyze the findings.
Six other collaborative projects emerged from the AIMday Digital Agriculture event, spanning from sensor development to cybersecurity applications. We are eager to see the development of more industry-academia collaborations resulting from our AIMday events, all with the goal of strengthening connections to support Manitoba’s economic growth.