Passions of an Odd Chick

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Day In the Life of a Farming Couple

I'm back in the fields again which I am very happy about. Today saw me cutting triticale in my windrower with a chopper and trucks waiting right behind me. I listened to an audiobook on my ipod about Frank Lloyd Wright and the women in his life -fascinating stuff while I went round and round. Later, I went to see what Sweet Farmer was up to.

Many people think farming is just large scale gardening - that any unskilled person with a strong back and a green thumb can make a farm grow. But profitable farming practices are not for the unskilled, and you don't necessarily need a strong back- just a smart head on your shoulders. Sweet Farmer has worked very hard this year preparing his planter to be more accurate and successful in its drops to increase his yield.

This year we have added GPS systems to his tractors. Now his John Deere is full of monitors and beeping and manuals on the subject.

To get the most yield on a modern farm, tractors have to plant exactly parallel to the previous row that was seeded. And while modern farmers may be experienced at driving a straight line, technology does it significantly better. This guidance system actually steers his tractor once he get it turned toward the field and corrects any error within an inch or two. So he reads his manual and his monitors with his hands in his lap.

He watches another monitor that reads sensors on each planter box to inform him as to exactly how much seed he's dropping per box per acre so that if one fowls up for whatever reason, he won't have blank spots in the field.

He also added seed disc that actually improved his flow of seed to the field and doesn't double up seed in some spots and no seed in others. And we didn't stop there, we have even upgraded the machine that flows seed into the planter boxes that doesn't split or damage the seed. With the costs of fuel, fertilizer, and seed -every seed matters and the accuracy of planting has become extremely important.

Farming, just like other industries, has moved toward technology to improve its profitability. It is a challenge to stay up and maintain the balance of profit while you upgrade. I thought you might be interested in the day of the life of a couple of happy farmers.


Sorrow said...

This gives the photo of ma & and pa farmer a new twist.
I have visuals of her standing there next to him with her ear buds in, and instead of a pitch fork he has a portable GPS unit and a John deer cap on.
Thanks for the day in the life!

Carol Anne Strange said...

I can't imagine anything better than being out on the land - all the magical, open spaces and that sense of connection with mother earth.

Wonderful! And isn't technology amazing?

ooglebloops said...

Quite impressive!! I will have to tell our neighbor farmer about this!! He still does it all the old fashioned way!!! Progress is amazing!!!

Linda B said...

I'm new to your blog, so have a few questions. How big is the farm, and what do you grow?
I listen to audio books all of the time. Sure makes the jobs go by faster, huh?
Hope you'll come by for a visit at one of my blogs.

redchair said...

That's very cool! I love hearing about your farm. I'd love to hear moooore about it.

What a great life that must be. You're a lucky farmer girl.

cottonpicker said...

I remember Greg and I sitting on the back of a planter watching each kernel of corn fall into the row. Oh My things have changed for the better!!

Kimmie said...

I always wondered why there might be some bare spots in the fields - I just assumed it was a low and wet spot or something. We should all learn to count each seed as if it were our last one (just one of my aside thoughts)

Steve Emery said...

Wow! The GPS and perfect parallel rows, as well as the treatment of the seeds, were fascinating. I guess when you're working with such large spaces and large quantities, the waste (or saving) can really add up! It's like the Olympics, winning by shaving seconds or tenths of seconds off your competition with the forces of chaos and waste.

The Victorious place said...

This was very inlighening. I enjoyed the farm stories. I did hear once that farmers need on the avarage a PHD in the work that they do. Not that they neccesarily go to school lots of it is hands on and self taught. Very cool.
Well me I gotta get back to posting what I have done and also back into my art work that I have missed so much.
Missed my art buddies also.
God Bless

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