County Ag Report - How Technology is Changing the Way Farmers Plant, Grow and Harvest Their Crops
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
“Auto Track Row Guidance, Yield Mapping, Field Mapping, and Automated Sprayer Controls.”
These are just a few of the new technologies found in today’s farm equipment that Kevin Adams of United Ag & Turf Northeast says is changing the way farmers plant, grow and harvest their crops in the twenty-first century. According to Adams, the technology not only makes the farmer’s job easier, it can make their land more productive by increasing the amount of seed they can plant in their fields.
“Well, everybody wants to gain more ground. That’s one thing we’re not making today is extra ground space, so using the Auto Track Guidance we’re putting the rows where they need to be. We no longer have those guess rows where you have a wide path. Of the fields we thought were thirty acres, now we’re getting thirty-five, thirty-six acres out of a field.”
The technology also helps when the crops are ready to be harvested using today’s newer, more advanced harvesting equipment.
“We’ve gone from two-row harvesting units to now four-row pick-ups, where we’re picking up twenty rows at a time. Having the technology included into the equipment allows the operator to focus on the operation he is doing, not so much focusing on what the tractor is doing.”
Garrett Hemphill, of Hemphill Farms, has installed GPS in their tractors and agrees it makes their job easier because it makes the operator’s job less stressful.
“We bought GPS a few years back mostly just for planting, just to get our rows straight and even and take a lot of stress off the operator. But we’ve since adapted it to almost all, or for everything on the farm, whether it’s spraying or combining, and even now the harvester and one of the windrowers. Just takes off that much more stress off the operator. Tractor steers itself, stays right where it needs to from one end of the field to the other.”
What does the future of farming look like as the technology continues to advance? Looking at the advancement in recent years, Adams sees even more progress on the horizon.
“There are no limits with technology today. If we think about when we had our bag phones to now we’ve got tractors driving themselves with no operator present. A guy sitting at his kitchen table monitoring his crew and his equipment that’s out right now, knowing that they’re working and being productive, the sky’s the limit”
“I guess I’m excited to see what’s next. You know it’s changed so much in the last ten years for all the farms around.”
Bernie Lagasse, Newssource 8
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