Is Your Farm Ready for the Future? Part three.

The final part of this three part series looks at Genetics.blur-bottle-chemistry-248152

DNA testing is another area where great strides have been made to make the technology affordable for farmers. Back in 1998, a DNA test cost around $10,000. Today, a similar test is less than $100 and provides results in 24 hours. Crop protection companies are investing in this technology because it allows for farmers to make prudent spray decisions and preserve the longevity of their products.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a new genetic technology that does not involve actual genetic modification, but which allows researchers to turn specific traits on and off in plants, such as disease or drought resistance, in real time, which allows the plant industry to bring new plants to market much faster. “I estimate there’s about 2000 new plant products a year coming to market,” said Seymour. “This technology is solving fundamental needs in agriculture.”

Plant and Cultured Proteins

One of the hottest trends in the food industry today is the demand for plant-based burgers as more people want a meat-eating experience without the actual meat. As a result, hamburgers are being developed that have the texture and colour of beef, and even bleed.

Cultured meat – grown from animal cells in a laboratory – is attracting a lot of research dollars from large companies like Tyson Foods.  Livestock producers may not like the sound of this technology but lab-produced protein has a compelling argument in terms of the reduced resources required to produce it. Cultured meat uses less land space and water, and produces less greenhouse gases. The downside is that it currently costs about 12 times more than traditional meat to grow, but that cost, said Seymour, is only going to continue to drop.

Are you ready for the future?

With so many technologies on the cusp of being a reality in our daily lives, what are the priorities for farmers in terms of adopting the ones that will make them more productive, their lives easier and makes their farms viable and sustainable for the future? “Anything that comes through your door that uses AI, invest in it because AI will solve fundamental problems on your farm, then any products involving connectivity and data; there is huge opportunity in that” said Seymour.

In an era of transformational change, Seymour is convinced that Canadian agriculture is ready, but it’s up to individual farmers to ask, “Am I ready for the future?”

©2018, Angela Lovell.

For permission to publish or reproduce this article contact Angela Lovell Communications below:

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