FACT- There is more technology in the cab of a tractor today than there was on the first space shuttle to the moon. Today’s farmer is an expert in utilizing technology. From guidance systems to satellites and soil moisture sensors to data analytics, farmers use technology every single day.
Using technology helps farmers be more efficient with time, energy and inputs; resulting in a more economic food cost for consumers. We’re able to produce more with less today largely because of technological advancements in agriculture. In 1962, one farmer fed 25.8 people on average. Today, one farmer feeds 155 people.
Farmers are using technology in many different ways for decision making and increasing efficiency… there’s too many to name in this post, so I’ll only name a few that we use.
Autosteer has been around for more than 15 years. We use this technology for precise application of crop nutrients, seed placement, tillage practices and more. Autosteer helps us be more efficient with time and energy. It helps save on fuel, therefore reducing input costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Variable-rate technology has been around for a very long time as well. Every acre in a given field is not treated equally because there is variation within it. Nutrients and seed are applied at different rates based on what the specific area of the field needs. Variable-rate technology has greatly improved the efficiency of our crop inputs.
We use satellites to monitor crop growth during the season. Satellites help us make decisions on when and where to apply additional nutrients or crop protection products. Satellites help also help us understand the variability in our fields and where to invest for the greatest efficiency and return on investment.
Moisture probes are used to gauge water levels in the soil. They’re placed at different depths to mimic the depth of plant roots and help us understand optimal timing for water and fertilizer applications. Soil probes help us with water and fertilizer efficiency. We can monitor these probes 24/7 from an app on our smartphones.
Data analytics are used to determine how different cropping practices affect our bottom line. We collect several data points on each field and analyze hybrid performance, fertility, and crop protection practices to help us make decisions for the upcoming growing seasons.
Technology is a huge part of the success and growth of our farm. It takes a lot of grey matter to learn and use this technology efficiently.