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View from the Cab: A volatile industry

(CIFN file photo)

Farming can be unpredictable at times, but isn’t always that way thanks to the latest technology.

A damp cloudy morning last Tuesday kept us out of the soybean field until early afternoon. That was the day the National Weather Service had forecasted rain for 2 p.m. or after. Well, guess what? It rained pretty much right at 2 p.m. and we got the field finished in the nick of time.

If it wasn’t for the color radar on my phone, the NWS forecasting skills and handy electronic features on the bean head, we wouldn’t have finished the field. In case you didn’t know, the soybean harvest is extremely stressful since the crop can only be harvested when conditions are just right. This means the dew must be completely gone and fields need to be perfectly dry following a rain event.

Technology also helps us during times of good weather and field conditions. Thanks to a small computer monitor mounted in the combine cab, we can see what the corn and soybeans are yielding, the moisture percentage and the number of acres harvested in a field so far. This same information is displayed more thoroughly on a nearby iPad which draws a map of the entire harvested field. Different colors show different yield results in certain areas.

Current ag technology also allows us to have instant field information, such as rainfall totals and yields, e-mailed or texted directly to our smart phones. It comes in handy to have all of the information at your fingertips to keep for your own files or share with a landlord or another professional involved in the ag industry. The local grain elevators have even adapted to the cell phone age by texting grain receipts straight to your phone.

Some may believe we depend on the technical side of things too much, but we would not be where we are today without it. Farming may have been simpler in the old days, but now we have it down to an exact science as we are trying to do more with less. Thanks to advancements in the industry, we are able to apply the right amount of seed and chemicals to a field without wasting fuel. Sounds good to me.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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