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Hi-Tech Farming: Sensors, electronic controls and robots are changing agriculture.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

September 1, 2021

3 Min Read
Sentinel monitoring system
MONITOR, SEE, CHANGE: Who says you can’t raise hogs or cattle from your rocking chair? With the Sentinel monitoring system and app from Sensaphone, you can monitor and adjust indoor barn conditions from anywhere.Sensaphone

The big pitch in the late 20th century was “push-button” farming. Push a button and feed your cows by turning on an auger, or push a button in the cab and turn a machine on or off. Like it or not, you’re now in the era of remote farming. You don’t even have to be physically close enough to push buttons to make things happen today.

The Sentinel monitoring system from Sensaphone for livestock buildings is just one more example of how you can control conditions in a barn without being anywhere near it. With this system, you can track temperature, humidity, ventilation, soil moisture, carbon dioxide, water pH, power failure and more. It’s cloud-based, so you can monitor it from your smartphone and change settings through an app. Visit sensaphone.com.

Robotic tractors

Bear Flag Robotics demonstrated earlier this year that tractors without drivers can operate tillage tools, and the California-based company set up a custom tillage business based on that principle. Recently, John Deere acquired the company, seeing a big future for robotic tractors that run without drivers. Look for big things to come from this $250 million acquisition. To show how technology development collaboration can lead to more technology, realize that Bear Flag is one of the first startup companies John Deere worked with to help it get up and going just a couple of years ago.

More technology mergers

Precision Planting started as a farmer-owned business to develop planter technology, then spent time as part of The Climate Corporation. Now a part of Agco, Precision Planting looks to the other end of the crop production spectrum by purchasing Headsight, a Bremen, Ind.-based company that provides precision solutions in harvesting. Headsight’s claims to fame are world-class row guidance and height-sensing technologies for combine headers. Precision Planting will maintain the Headsight team and continue operations in Indiana.

Robot in the field

Corteva Agriscience is working with the Spot robot from Boston Dynamics to send it down rows of corn, sunflowers and other crops. This lightweight, portable robot can work in all kinds of environments and collect huge amounts of data — inside a hot cornfield, for example. Trimble is providing expertise on guidance to help pinpoint the robot’s movements within the field. Corteva’s Geoff Graham says this robot approach pushes the boundaries of what they can deliver to farmers.

More data collection

Farmobile LLC, which trademarked itself as Agriculture’s Independent Data Company, received a patent this year on a cloud-based farming data collection and exchange system that can enable real-time collection, tracking, monitoring, sharing and monetizing of important farm operation data. Company spokespersons believe it may play a role in helping document records farmers need to receive payments for carbon credits. Visit farmobile.com.

Crop protection news

Vive Crop Protection will now use Helena Agri-Enterprises as part of its distribution network in the U.S., Vive spokespersons report. Vive continues to promote its Allosperse-enabled precision chemistry products and will now have the power of Helena’s distribution system to help it achieve its goals. Visit vivecrop.com.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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