View from the Cab: Ain't it grand?

By: Kent Casson

Technology on the farm is great and is something we really can’t live without anymore.

You have to think back a few years to the times before autosteer, which is where the tractor automatically steers itself up and down the rows. Thanks to this amazing invention, we are able to utilize precision agriculture to use less fuel and inputs. We don’t waste extra trips up and down the field since the farm equipment covers just the right amount of area.

This technology means fewer mistakes and more time to focus on other things. Just think what the future holds. When my son grows up, maybe farmers won’t even be riding in tractors anymore. Many seem to think field operations will be done from the office desk.

I am thankful for camera technology on farm equipment. Cameras are mounted on the large auger wagons so we can see traffic from behind while traveling on roads. This is also helpful when trying to back up and avoid hitting another piece of equipment. A few guys have these installed on planters. Newer combines even have cameras mounted on the grain bin allowing the cab operator to see how fast the bin is filling up.

Just like with your computers at home, we sometimes need technical assistance on the farm. We have been on the phone with tech support numerous times for different companies over the years. In the old days, you could fix a tractor problem pretty easy but this isn’t always the case nowadays since so much technology is involved. It often takes a well-trained professional to perform important tasks.

I often wonder what our grandparents and great grandparents would think of agriculture today. Would they adapt to the changes or just stick to the old ways of driving down the field manually? Some may argue all of today’s advances take the fun out of driving a tractor. When I was a kid, I could just sit on Dad’s lap and steer all I wanted. These days, we make sure the kids don’t accidentally bump the steering wheel to put the machine back into “manual” mode.

It may be a few years before we are operating machinery from the living room but we appear to be moving toward this. I could see driverless technology really taking off in agriculture even before it heads to the roads in this country.

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