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.