Agricultural Technology Research & Innovation Funder Discusses Manitoba-Based Automation Project

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 11th, 2023 – The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) today unveiled the fourth of nine stories highlighting results of the AgTech research & innovation projects it has funded during its first two-and-a-half years of formal operations.

CAAIN’s mandate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is to fund technological responses to the most significant opportunities and challenges facing the nation’s agri-food producers and processors. That means supporting promising efforts with the potential to provide economic or environmental value. The featured stories demonstrate that CAAIN is doing just that, as do the 129 collaborations the organization has nurtured and the $31M it is investing in 24 projects with a combined total value exceeding $100M.

“Automation and robotics are revolutionizing entire industries, including the agri-food sector,” explained Dr. Cornelia Kreplin, CAAIN’s Interim CEO. “Last week, we told you about an exciting project out of Saskatchewan. This week we shine the spotlight on the work of Winnipeg-based MacDon Industries, one of Canada’s most successful farm equipment manufacturers, and a company fully embracing the opportunities presented by researching and developing advanced technology.”

The MacDon project is called Harvesting Automation – Reducing the Requirement for Highly Skilled Labour During the Harvest of Broad-Acre Cash Crops. CAAIN’s portion of the $9,351,260 total cost is $3,839,381, and it’s proving to be a worthwhile investment. Harvesting crops such as wheat and canola is time-consuming and labour-intensive. Anything that can be done to speed things up by eliminating repetitive manual processes has the potential to pay significant dividends. By focusing on automating the crop-engagement portion of a combine, or header as it’s called, as well as the user interface inside the vehicle cabin, MacDon’s engineering team is doing just that. And given the shortage of skilled workers challenging the entire agricultural sector, it would be difficult to overstate the importance of their efforts.

Read the story.



The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) is a not-for-profit company launched in July 2019 with funding of $49.5‑million from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, and assistance from Alberta Innovates in the form of significant in-kind contributions. CAAIN drives collaborative agri-food technology research and innovation from coast to coast by performing three core functions. First, it supports the development of promising solutions to important challenges facing producers and primary food processors. Second, it is building an online, member-based network connecting Canada’s agricultural and technology stakeholders. Third, CAAIN is developing a digital platform to link nationwide, production-specific networks of smart farms, which will collaborate to validate and demonstrate emerging technology in diverse locations across the country.   Twitter   LinkedIn

Project Funding Inquiries
Dr. Cornelia Kreplin
Interim CEO
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
Media Inquiries
Eric Morin, CMP
Manager, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
780.405.3742 |