As a rule, when most people talk about advancements in technology, they usually have to do with an iPhone, a new watch, or some other smart device. But don't be fooled: technology isn't just limited to something you can hold in your hand. Few people take the time to point out some of the truly great bits of agricultural technology currently in the works.
Drones have been set up with farming technology equipment that allows West Texas farmers to take accurate and quite detailed photographs of their fields. At the moment, the equipment the small drone is equipped with is meant to be used to both inspect and measure fields, create a 3D model of your West Texas farmland, and more. The bird’s eye view of the land allows farmers to make better crop management decisions while also saving time.
The good news is that the FAA seems to understand just how important the use of drones will be for the future of farming.
John Deere’s Autonomous Tractor
As of right now, planting, harvesting, spraying, disking, and other tasks that require the use of a tractor also require that someone has to be behind the wheel of the tractor, but those days could soon be behind West Texas farmers. For years, John Deere has been developing technology that will someday make it possible for farmers to set up their equipment and let it drive itself around the field, while an “operator” monitors the process. This will presumably allow the farmer to do multiple things, such as harvest cotton, contact Hurst Farm Supply about an equipment order, and spend time helping their teen with algebra homework.
Just how long do you have to wait for this technology to be developed? Based on this three-year-old video of an autonomous John Deere tractor harvesting corn, the technology is ready to go. So why aren’t you using it? Liability.
The biggest hold up between the development of autonomous tractors and actually using them is how to prevent accidents. Work is being done to minimize the risks, which includes fitting the autonomous tractors with radar sensors to help the computer system identify what’s in front of it. GPS systems can be used to prevent the tractor from entering any field or area other than the one where it was programmed to work. The problem, at least for John Deere and other companies working to make autonomous tractors a reality for West Texas farmers is that the technology is not fool proof just yet.
It’s likely that once the manufactures have come up with a way to reduce the risk of an accident with an autonomous tractor, the tractors will become available to local farmers.
Big Changes in Bug Control
Anyone who attended the AgTech Summit learned that the way insect populations are controlled on farms throughout the country is changing. Spensa Technologies developed a product they’re calling the Z-Trap. At first glance it looks like something that simply capture bugs, but it actually does much more than that. The device is set up to identify each of the insects it traps. Farmers can than use this information to know exactly what pests are in their field and streamline their pest control methods, a system that has the potential to save them money.
Local Farmers Benefit from Webcasts
Many farmers have learned how they can use the internet to help market their product and improve the general population’s understanding of agriculture, but they don’t realize that the internet can also be used to further their own education and improve farming practices. A perfect example of this is how cotton farmers can benefit from webinars or webcasts. The online suite has been set up so cotton producers can access it 24/7 and benefit from the real time access it provides to all sorts of valuable and scientific information needed to produce the best possible cotton crop. The webcasts posted on the online suite have been of particular interest to local growers. The webcasts have been great source of up-to-date information on a wide range of subjects.
Technology in agriculture is constantly advancing and changing. We've just covered the tip of the iceberg in these examples. There are definitely plenty more to share. What bit of newly developed agricultural technology has you the most excited about the future of farming?
You can count on Hurst Farm Supply to not only keep you up-to-date on current farming technology, but to also make it a part of our inventory as soon as it becomes available and dependable. Make sure you stay connected with us to stay up-to-date on news and events.