It seems like just as fast as November appeared it is just as quickly coming to a close. Compiling my list of 30 things that make modern ag work has been fun yet challenging because some of the things I take for granted were actually hardest for me to come up with. That's because they are already a part of my daily life.
To make sure my complete list has 30 items, I'll list eight items now and my final item – No. 30 – will be all about what I think makes modern ag work the most.
This week I am thankful for technology and advancements that make our work easier and more productive.
1. Auto-steer: Auto-steer reduces fuel consumption and overall waste, prevents overlap and alleviates operator fatigue.
2. UAVs - In the last year alone the advancements and advantages of being able to see from a different perspective have been amazing, from crop damage to how tillage equipment is working to just a beautiful picture of harvest at sunset from above. This technology is still in its infancy but its advantages to agriculture are many – and UAVs will continue to prove even more useful.
3. Field prescriptions
4. Yield monitors
5. Rate management
6. Field mapping
Together, these tools have reduced waste and over-application. They also have optimized use of seed, fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides and have reduced trips across the field.
7. Video cameras and alarms: The ability to watch cows during calving or sows farrowing from your home or office is reassuring to a livestock farmer. For the animal to feel safe and undisturbed from people continually entering a barn during the birthing process is ideal, but the fear that those animals will need assistance is always on a farmer's mind. These systems allow peace of mind for all.
There isn't a day or storm that goes by that I am not grateful for our alarm system in our hog barns. We no longer have to be up and down all night during a storm, making sure the hogs have electricity for ventilation and water. If the electricity goes out in any barn, the alarm calls us immediately and generators are started.
8. Social media: The opportunities that we as advocates for agriculture have are far greater than ever before. We not only have the opportunity to connect with other advocates, but with consumers. With more and more technology being used in food production we need to tell our stories now more than ever and social media makes it possible to reach more than our neighbors or a local newspaper ever could.
Always be thankful and be careful.