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Satellites, smartphones, and soaring drones: the tech our farmers depend on

The global population is growing by leaps and bounds. We need more food and we need it faster than ever before. While sunshine is a key ingredient of McCain potatoes, our farmer partners use new technologies and innovations to take potatoes from farm to fork.

So, how do our farmers grow more potatoes more efficiently? One big booster has been precision agriculture. It’s straightforward. Decades ago a farmer would spread a relatively equal amount of water and fertilizer across every inch of their fields. But really, certain sections of the field need more or less care, depending on soil quality.

Satellite-guided tractors plant potatoes with precision.
Satellite-guided tractors plant potatoes with precision.


Today some farmers use precision agriculture to divide their field into “zones.” These zones can be micro-targeted and given precise amounts of water and fertilizer depending on need. With the use of satellites, these zones can be divided down to the centimetre. It means these innovative farming families can get more out of their fields than ever before. At a time when Canadians are getting excited about driverless cars, farmers have been “driving” driverless tractors directed by satellite for more than 10 years.

It takes some impressive programming to keep this system running. But farmers can now run some elements of their farm operation with the click of a button. Smartphone apps allow farmers to monitor their crops remotely. A farmer could be at a conference in Toronto, and – with the flip of a digital switch – water his crops hundreds of kilometres away. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “working out of office”!

Shawn Paget of Riverview Farms regularly uses his smartphone to monitor his farm operations.
Shawn Paget of Riverview Farms regularly uses his smartphone to monitor his farm operations.


The 21st century has set a ferocious pace of change, but in agriculture, change is the norm. It’s hard for farmers to picture their jobs without the tech and tools which fuel success. To ensure Canadians are getting the best quality product, McCain works with farmers to deliver innovation so we can continue delivering potato products families know and love. And love is at the heart of our work at the end of the day. Technology is important but nothing happens without people who love their work – innovation only builds on the incomparable passion and dedication of our farmers.

Gilles Moreau, McCain agronomist, launches a drone.
Gilles Moreau, McCain agronomist, launches a drone.


​The 21st century has set a ferocious pace of change, but in agriculture, change is the norm. It’s hard for farmers to picture their jobs without the tech and tools which fuel success. To ensure Canadians are getting the best quality product, McCain works with farmers to deliver innovation so we can continue delivering potato products families know and love. And love is at the heart of our work at the end of the day. Technology is important but nothing happens without people who love their work – innovation only builds on the incomparable passion and dedication of our farmers.