Agri-Trade staying up-to-date with new technologies

  • Oct. 29, 2014 3:15 p.m.

The evolution of the agriculture industry will be well represented at the annual Agri-Trade Exposition coming to the City Nov. 5th-8th.

The two major focuses of the show are equipment and technology. Over 400 vendors with thousands of products will be welcomed to the Westerner grounds for Red Deer’s largest expo.

“Agri-Trade started out around equipment – bringing in new tractors and that sort of stuff. Now, we’re really seeing the trend into technology, and the use of technology in a farming operation. People are calling it ‘farming smarter’,” said Show Manager Diane Smirl.

“We bring in new products and services that are used in the agriculture industry. When I say agriculture, I’m talking about cattle, grains – everything. This event is the agri-industry under one roof. Whatever you’re looking for in your farming operation, this is the show that will have what you need.”

The show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday – Friday, and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $14 per person, parking and GST included. Children under 12 are free when attended by an adult.

There will be vendors with information on everything from large farm machinery to emerging technologies to speakers and more. A full list of exhibitors is available online.

Last year, an ‘Ag-Technology’ Pavilion was launched and this year that will continue. Smirl said that each year there is becoming more and more of a technological presence at the expo.

“The future of agriculture is really technology and robotics. I’ve been told we’re about five to 10 years away from a self-driving tractor, which is huge news. If we trend into robotics where a tractor or combine could be self driving and a farmer controls it from an iPad, that is a huge, huge shift in the industry,” Smirl said.

“The other big thing we’re noticing is the use of drones. There are drones that can be directed by a tablet that can collect data on ground moisture, infection, bugs and more so that the farmer doesn’t waste any time in knowing exactly which section of his land needs attention.”

Smirl said, “Agriculture is one of the top three user groups adapting technology into their industry.”

She said that in the next three to five years there will be a noticeable shift in the show as technology becomes more of a focus.

This year, the layout will be slightly altered from previous expos. For instance, an entire pavilion will be dedicated to trucks and trailers so that it is easier for guests to do comparative shopping. Also, a new tented area will be implemented at the back side of the Agri-Centre West.

Guests are encouraged to take part in the attendee survey so that new interests can be brought to light to better plan for future years.

As a person does the survey, they are automatically entered to win a grand prize trip valued at over $10,000. The prize includes a trip for four to any agri-trade show in North America with flights, hotels, show passes and spending money supplied.

Last year more than 25,000 guests attended the event over the four days, and Smirl is hoping, as usual, for those numbers to increase. She said that there are many new exhibitors, as well as old favourites, for the crowds to enjoy.