Monday, May 25, 2015

Technology on the Farm

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I enjoyed another day with my fellow City Moms recently, when we had the opportunity to tour the Meyer Saathoff Family farm. The focus of our visit was to learn about planting crops, specifically corn and soybean crops. I am sure there will be blogs that talk more about this process and the information gained therein. But, what I have been completely mesmerized by at this visit, and at our last tour to the pig farrowing farm earlier in the spring, is the amount of technology on the farm.

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It is no wonder farmers are spending more time in the classroom, at industry events and networking with others than in previous generations, because to learn and use this technology has changed farming in many ways. It has helped mitigate some of the risk of farming for each family, and allowed for better use of soil, nutrients, fertilizer, seeds and pesticides, and ultimately allowed for larger yields with more targeted work.

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For example, soil is tested in all sorts of ways to allow the farmer to have more knowledge and control. They can see what nutrients are lacking in the soil, and choose to fertilize to add only the nutrients needed for an upcoming crop. Or, they can choose to plant certain crops in certain locations that will allow for maximum yield. This testing helps the farmer spend resources only on the fertilizer and nutrients needed, and plan for the most effective crop rotation.

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There is also extensive use of GPS, and tablet apps that track water retention in the fields on a real-time basis! And much, much more, but those are for another post. It's amazing how technologically savvy our family farmers have become.