Winners of the 'Fertilizer Challenge' have been announced at the London, Ont. Farm Show

Mar 15, 2023

Robotics is the future of farming, according to Chuck Baresich.

"How do we take the farming that we're doing, and can we improve it? Can we improve the processes? Robotics will allow that to happen," said Baresich, President of Haggerty AgRobotics, based near Bothwell.

His company is one of ten that are sharing equally in two million dollars worth of funding spread over two years.

The funding comes from the provincial government as part of the ‘Fertilizer Technology Challenge’.

"The Fertilizer Challenge was created to encourage the development of new products, ideally reducing the dependency on fertilizer coming in from other parts of the world," said Thompson.

Both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have impacted the availability and cost of fertilizer, with supply chains disrupted and the federal government imposing a 35 per cent tariff on Russian fertilizer.

Those issues prompted the province to enlist the help of Bioenterprise, a business accelerator focused on agriculture industries.

"Farmers are facing a lack of fertilizer. The fertilizer they can get is very expensive," said Bioenterprise CEO Dave Smardon.

Smardon's agency went looking for ways to reduce those pressures on farmers.

"We have access to all kinds of innovation, some of which can be applied to those kinds of targets, and we found them," he said.

The companies are primarily working along two paths, either creating new fertilizer options or making fertilizer use more efficient.

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