NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Technology in Agriculture (Part 2)

Technology in Agriculture (Part 2)

County Agent News
Dan Folske
|August 4, 2014

 Technology in Agriculture

                Last week I wrote about UAV’s, and auto steer. You may still be laughing about checking cows with your UAV and your smart phone reporting which cows are ready to AI.

                I bet I can come up with a few other technological and mechanical changes which are now common place that were rare 10 years ago and scoffed at 20 years ago. How about self-propelled augers? Twenty years ago there were a few homebuilt ones featured in “Farm Show”. Today, you may not find them on every farm but they are common and now you even find “steerable” pto augers where not only do you leave the tractor hooked up but you can also steer the auger wheels. I remember inching along the side of the truck box to roll tarps. Now over 95% of the trucks have roll tarps and many of them are electrically operated. We thought a mechanical rod sliding through a loop at the edge of the operators platform on the combine was a big help controlling header height. Now you dial in the automatic header height on the control console and the combine lifts and lowers the header for you. The first round baler I used had a rope to pull to move the twine arm and then you released it a little at a time to control the spacing while the twine was wrapping. You had to carefully watch the belts and judge when to move from side to side to get a good bale. Now the arrows on the monitor point to which side of the windrow to drive on, it beeps when the bale is full (after presetting the size in inches from 36 to 72 inches in diameter), I stop, it beeps at me again when the bale is wrapped, I push one button fastened to the arm rest, the baler stops the belts, opens the gate, kicks the bale out, closes the gate, restarts the belts and tells me to drive.  I remember the awe at seeing a hydraulically operated cattle squeeze chute at the Vet clinic. Now even some of the calf tables are hydraulic, and the scanner on the chute reads the radio frequency ID tag (RFID) and records the weight automatically.

                Put on your thinking cap! What changes do you think tomorrow may bring?

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