Frequently Asked Questions


Today, Canadian farm producers are using field and production data to manage their operations more efficiently than ever before. Available data allows producers to manage their land with details on areas as small as a few meters. They can adjust inputs to give each small area what it needs but no more. Producers using data-driven agriculture aim not merely to maximize yields but to maximize economic returns per acre as well.

Producers have a wide variety of data and precision farming services available to them. AgSat stands out for providing basic and essential farm data for a much smaller investment.

AgSat is an exciting new online tool that provides data essentials for farm decision-making.

AgSat harnesses the power of remote sensing data and terrestrial sensor data and gathers it in one place to give producers across Canada an affordable option for gaining a deeper understanding of ground-measured characteristics on their land.

AgSat provides near real-time satellite images, current weather-related tracking and digital mapping information, including:

  • AgSat Satellite
    • Open Street Maps: 2-D view like Google Maps
    • ESRI World Imagery: one meter or better satellite and aerial imagery
    • MODIS Satellite Imagery: based on Terra True Color
  • AgSat NowCasts
    • Snow Data Assimilation System (SnoDAS): a daily best-estimate of snow depth and snow water equivalent at 1-km resolution
    • Soil Moisture: to 10 cm below the surface
    • Soil Temperature: on the surface
    • 24-hour Accumulated Daily Precipitation: current, with access to a historical look at the past two weeks of precipitation
    • Weather Radar Precipitation: current, including a look at the past 3 hours
  • AgSat Digital Maps
    • Canadian Land Inventory: soil types classified on their suitability for agricultural use
    • Canadian Crop Inventory: the most recent historical crop inventory showing crops planted (grains and oilseeds), pasture and more
    • Shaded Relief and Provincial Digital Elevation Model (DEM) maps: showing land elevations, contours and profiles

In addition to these tools, producers can request images for their individual Areas Of Interest (AOI) based on True Colour, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and Normalized Difference Wetness Index in both low (10 m) resolution and high (1 m) resolution on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Additional fees may apply for higher-resolution images.

An AgSat subscription gives producers access to state-of-the-art satellite imagery within a 10-to-30-meter resolution, with the option to purchase higher resolution satellite imagery inside their Areas of Interest, down to 1 meter or better.

With the AgSat satellite, weather and mapping tools at their fingertips, producers have added information that helps them optimize their agricultural production decisions and pinpoint areas on their land that may need more attention.

  • having access to satellite data gives producers a simple and effective way to keep tabs on their land holdings
  • the accuracy provided by the AgSat satellite images gives producers information that is often invisible to the eye, like vegetation growth, soil moisture and temperature, so they can monitor changes that occur on their land
  • while manual scouting and field assessment can be time consuming, AgSat’s bird’s-eye view lets producers monitor their fields from their office computer or smartphone, without expensive scouting equipment like high-end drones.

AgSat lets producers monitor important growing conditions in near real-time so that they can make better agronomic decisions. Through AgSat, producers can monitor things like:

  • crop growth throughout the season
  • pre-plant soil moisture and surface wetness for crop selection and seeding planning
  • crop moisture conditions to time spraying or harvest, and/or to aid in irrigation decisions
  • pasture moisture and growing conditions
  • early signs of stress on crops from disease, pests or drought to get a jump on corrective measures
  • damage to crops due to hail, frost, drought and other weather-related events
  • water-holding capacity or water features on the farm to demonstrate the portion of land dedicated to wetlands and riparian water systems
  • carbon capture for the farm to estimate carbon absorbed by soil and the farm’s biomass

AgSat can be used by any farm producer across Canada, regardless of their size, but is aimed at those who don’t currently have access to a more complex data-driven precision farming service.

This affordable tool gives farmers access to an entry-level farm data and mapping system in near real-time. While much of the information is geared towards crop producers, AgSat can also be used by those raising livestock and feeding animals on pasture.

There are other comprehensive data-driven programs available in the Canadian agriculture marketplace, but these often come with a larger time commitment to maintain, a higher price and/or the requirement of a consultant to interpret the data.

The AgSat tool gives producers a place to start with farm data that is simple and affordable.

AgSat has two yearly subscription prices: $349 per year for mapping up to 32 Areas of Interest (AOI) and a maximum of 2,500 acres, and $899 per year for mapping up to 96 Areas of Interest (AOI) and a maximum of 10,000 acres. AgSat is free to try for 14 days.

Other data-driven precision farming services are often calculated on a per-acre basis, and the cost of this can add up. For example, on a 5,000-acre farm, one available service costs $6/acre resulting in a cost to a producer of $30,000 per year. For growers with the financial resources and agronomic interest in such a comprehensive package, this can be a worthwhile option.

AgSat does not provide all the features and advice that comes with other data-driven services. AgSat is intended to be a low-cost tool for producers to use on their own, providing producers with entry level access to farm data for just pennies per acre.

Absolutely. Crop consultants providing agricultural services to farm customers and producers with larger operations can purchase the more comprehensive $899 yearly subscription. This gives them access to all the same tools as the $349 subscription, but with a maximum of 96 Areas of Interest (AOI) that total up to 10,000 acres.

AgSat is currently in the testing phase so interested producers can try this new online tool under a free 14-day trial period. This preview will allow producers to see the type of information they can get access to prior to the 2020 spring planting season, when it’s anticipated AgSat will be ready for use across Canada.

AgSat is offered by Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) in partnership with Aquanty Inc.

AFA is Alberta’s producer-funded general farm association based in Lacombe, Alberta, with a mandate to work for the benefit of all agricultural producers in Alberta. AFA got behind the AgSat project to help ensure that not only large farms with the resources to purchase precision data could be part of the farm data revolution. AgSat brings the data revolution within reach for virtually any Canadian farm producer.

Aquanty is a research spinoff company from the University of Waterloo, specializing in advanced computer simulations of the terrestrial water cycle. Aquanty is the developer and maintainer of AgSat.